In a move that was applauded by many, myself included, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed free agent offensive tackle William "Tra" Thomas. Thomas has spent his entire 11 year career with the Philadelphia Eagles earning three Pro Bowl appearances. The addition of the veteran tackle changes the landscape of the Jaguars offensive line and the possible draft strategy of the Jaguars.
Thomas adds a much needed veteran presence to an offensive line that is going to need to rebuild itself. He should be immediately be penciled in as the opening day starter. Thomas is an improvement over former starter Khalif Barnes. Thomas may not be as good a run blocker as Barnes but he is well-versed when it comes to keeping his quarterback clean. In Philadelphia, Thomas kept Donovan McNabb upright in Andy Reid's pass-happy offense. While in the NFC East Thomas faced off against such players as DeMarcus Ware, Andre Carter and Justin Tuck. In 2008 Thomas only allowed two sacks, not too shabby. The former Florida State star still has a lot left and will be a welcomed addition in Jacksonville.
Tra Thomas' addition means the Jaguars have much more flexibility when it comes to the NFL Draft. It has been long known that the Jags needed a left tackle. In a sense the Jags were "Old Mother Hubbard" with no left tackle in the cupboard. Thomas now makes the left tackle position less of a priority and will allow Jacksonville not to have to force their hand and reach for a left tackle. Gene Smith will now try his best to trade back in the first round in order to gain more draft picks.