Former Georgia Tech quarterback Justin Thomas will get his shot at the NFL.
One of the more dynamic players in Yellow Jackets history will go to the San Francisco 49ers rookie minicamp this coming week on a tryout basis. The deal was struck following the conclusion of the NFL draft Saturday. The 49ers will test him out as a wide receiver and return specialist, according to his representation, ESQ Agency.
Coincidentally, Thomas’ favorite target is on the 49ers’ roster, former Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter. After getting drafted in 2015, Smelter was out the entire season recovering from his torn ACL suffered late in the 2014 season. He then was on the 49ers’ practice squad before being signed to the active roster late in the 2016 season. Smelter actually gave Thomas some tutorials on wide receiver at Tech when he returned to Atlanta in the offseason.
A tryout is different than an undrafted free-agent deal. An undrafted free agent is signed to a contract and has a spot on the roster. A player on a tryout is auditioning, in this case at the 49ers’ rookie minicamp, for a contract and roster spot.
Thomas will have the odds against him, as he’ll be playing a new position. Thomas has played quarterback his whole career, going back to youth football. However, because of his size (5-foot-9, 195 pounds), he was worked out at wide receiver, cornerback and returner besides quarterback at Tech’s pro day in March.
That said, Tech fans are familiar with his quickness, speed and playmaking ability.
“He’s just got tremendous playmaking skills,” coach Paul Johnson said last week. “He’s a gifted athlete. I think he has a lot of position flexibility and he’d just be an asset to any team.”
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