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Jaguars snag 2 motivated Cats Jaguars snag pair of motivated Wildcats

Citizen Staff Writer



Wide receiver Mike Thomas will be the first to say he can make a big impact in the NFL despite being small.

Apparently, the Jacksonville Jaguars agree.

The former University of Arizona receiver was the seventh pick in the fourth round, by Jacksonville, on Sunday. The Jaguars also selected fellow Wildcat Eben Britton, an offensive tackle, in the second round.

Quarterback Willie Tuitama, safety Nate Ness, linebacker Ronnie Palmer and the rest of the Wildcats hoping to be drafted will now wait for possible free-agent deals.

The 5-foot-8 Thomas, projected to go as high as the third round, likely fell lower because of his lack of height.

“I think it is going to fuel my fire,” Thomas said. “I’ve got knocked down for being 5-8, 5-7 or whatever you want to call it,” Thomas said on a conference call. “I definitely think that is going to spark my fuse and it’s already sparked my fuse. I’m just ready to get going.”

He will be a slot receiver for the Jaguars, who lacked a dynamic wideout last season.

“The coaches said we need a player (who) when you throw him the ball, they can get fast quick. And that’s what (Thomas) can do,” Jacksonville director of player personnel Terry McDonough said on the Jaguars’ team Web site. “He can get off the spot. He has burst.

“He’s a lively guy. We thought he was probably going to go maybe a round earlier. So he was the top-rated player on our board when we got him.”

Thomas set a UA and Pac-10 record with 259 career receptions. He caught at least one pass in all but one game during his career. In the only game he didn’t catch a ball, he had a broken hand and was used as a decoy.

He will be competing for playing time immediately, and will have a talented role model in Torry Holt, who was traded to the Jaguars from St. Louis this week.

“I’m going to get right under his armpit and soak as much information from him as I can and watch him every day. I hope he takes me in as one of his little brothers, just try to teach me the way,” Thomas told the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Web site. “I’m going to be like a little sponge and I couldn’t ask for any more.”

Jacksonville got rid of Matt Jones, Jerry Porter and Reggie Williams during the offseason, leaving plenty of room for Thomas to get playing time.

One of the receivers Thomas will compete with for time is former UA star Dennis Northcutt, who like Thomas is among the top five in nearly every UA major statistical category.

Thomas finished with 3,231 receiving yards, third on the all-time list behind Bobby Wade (3,351) and Northcutt (3,252).

Thomas’ 23 career touchdown catches tie him for third with Bobby Wade behind Theopolis Bell (30) and Northcutt (24).

“The sky is the limit for me,” Thomas said on the conference call. “I’m there to play ball. I have been playing since I was 5. I feel like I have a real knack for just making plays.

“I’m ready. I’m determined. I want to . . . get with the Jaguars and stick.

” I’m real excited. I’m ready to get to work.”

Thomas says slip to fourth round will ‘fuel my fire’

Thomas: Slip to 4th round

is going to ‘fuel my fire’

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