It was an easy decision for Joe Thomas.
Once the 2006 Capitol One Bowl concluded, he was on his way to April’s NFL draft. The junior offensive lineman from Wisconsin figured to be the second tackle taken after Virginia’s D’Brickashaw Ferguson. By this time last year, his rookie NFL season would be in the books.
Thomas never made it to the ‘06 NFL Draft, however. In fact, he never made it out of the Capitol One Bowl. He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee playing, of all things, defensive line. He was playing on defense because the Badgers had major injury problems on the line. Ironically, his outstanding athletic ability, versatility and penchant to help the team in any way he could, cost him a chance to compete in the NFL in ’06.
Not too worry, however, because Thomas returned for his senior season and helped lead Wisconsin to a memorable 12-1 record. He also returned to the site of his major knee injury, and aided the Badgers in a 17-14 win over Arkansas in the ‘07 Capitol One Bowl.
Thomas was the first offensive tackle taken in April’s draft when he was selected third overall by the Cleveland Browns. He most likely would not have been selected in the top 10 in ‘06, making his forced decision to return to Wisconsin for his fourth season a more fruitful one (at least financially).
In his four years at Wisconsin, Thomas was twice named an All-American, and following his senior season he took home the Outland Trophy, given to the top offensive lineman in the country. During his freshman season, he played mostly as a blocking tight end. It was in his sophomore year, however, that Thomas started all 12 games for Wisconsin at left tackle. In his final two seasons, he was considered the anchor of the Badgers o-line and some consider him the finest athlete to ever play at Wisconsin.
In his rookie season, Thomas started every game for the Browns and was even selected to his first Pro Bowl.
Information sites on Thomas
Cleveland Browns Official Player Bio: Joe Thomas
Career notes, photos and stats on Joe Thomas can be found at the Official Website of the Cleveland Browns.
NFL.com Player Profile: Joe Thomas
Find a small profile, game logs, stats and merchandise on Joe Thomas NFL.com.
Rotoworld Player Page: Joe Thomas
Rotoworld.com has some of the best fantasy reporting and advice on the web. Click on the “Previous News” tab to get current and past information on Joe Thomas for your fantasy football team.
Joe Thomas Wikipedia Page
Find a comprehensive background on Joe Thomas’s life and football career at Wikipedia.com.
Latest on Thomas
Thomas was a mainstay on the Browns offensive line all season and even made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
Digging up Joe Thomas on the web
Tackle Thomas big catch on line
After personally meeting with coaches and player personnel, offensive tackle Joe Thomas wanted to be a Brown.
Savage's genius netted Brady Quinn for the Browns
Entering the draft, not many Browns’ fans envisioned general manager Phil Savage to land both Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn, but that’s exactly what he did.
No. 3 pick Joe Thomas spent draft day fishing
M ost top prospects spend their draft day experience nervously wanting to walk up to the podium and snap pictures with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Not Joe Thomas, who spent his draft day on Lake Michigan fishing with his father.
Joe Thomas diary: Staying pays off
Short interview with Thomas, including questions about his decision whether or not to play in the Senior Bowl, where he expects to get drafted and the process of finding an agent.
Just your Average Joe
Great article on Joe Thomas’s career at Wisconsin and how he had to battle through adversity after diagnosed with a torn ACL in 2005.
Joe Thomas diagnosed with torn ACL
Thomas tears his ACL in the 2005 Capitol One Bowl, forcing him to return to Wisconsin for his senior year.
On being drafted by the Browns:
"It didn't surprise me. I hoped that Cleveland would pick me after I met the personnel and the coaches. They really had shown a lot interest along the way, and I knew it would be a good fit for me."
On being the first left tackle taken by Clevleand since 1970:
"It does surprise me a little bit because Cleveland is a blue-collar city that likes their offensive linemen. That's the type of city that likes offensive line type of play. I'm happy I'm going to be part of the Cleveland Browns family."
On fishing the day he was taken in the first round of the NFL draft:
“It was about as normal as a fishing trip you could have under these circumstances."