2020 UDFA: Buffalo Bills S Josh Thomas injury analysis

Newly signed S Josh Thomas arrives to the Bills with minimal injury issues, can he make the team?

Bills S Josh Thomas comes from familiar territory in North Carolina for both GM Brandon Beane & HC Sean McDermott. Playing for Appalachian State comes with the underdog mentality, having knocked off Michigan all the way back in 2007 as an FCS team at the time. Since moving up to FBS in the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian State has always had the ability to shock a Power 5 conference team. During that rise to the next level, Thomas has been a part of the rise of that team and a key contributor to a program that has won 5 bowl games in one 5 year class, a feat only matched by 4 other NCAA schools in history. 

On top of that, Thomas has minimal injury concerns listed below. 

2015

Appeared in 13 games in a mostly reserve role, acclimating to the college game, but appeared to avoid injury. 

2016

Appeared in 12 games, increasing his playing time and not appearing to suffer any injuries. There were 13 games played that season, but I cannot find any record of why he did not play against Tennessee in the season opener. 

2017

Thomas began to round into shape, starting 3 games at free safety and playing in 4 overall before suffering a season-ending fibula fracture as the result of a player falling on his leg against Wake Forest. The article does not specify which side was fractured and does not state whether he had surgery. It does state that he had a cast on which is expected, but details are scarce. 

As a result, he received a medical hardship waiver preserving his eligibility, missing the remaining 9 games.

2018

Thomas was able to come back to full health and regain his starting job rather quickly, appearing in all 13 games starting at free safety. He was named a captain of the team and All-Sun Belt Second team. He did not appear to have any struggles coming off the previous seasons’ injury and was able to resume his high level of play.

2019

Appeared in all 14 games as a team captain and first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection. Following his injury in 2017, he made 27 consecutive starts and did not appear to suffer any further injuries. 

Bills Injury Impact

Thomas is yet another UDFA that shows promise but will be limited only by his talent and the overall depth at the position. The fibula fracture is so much in the rearview mirror, it is simply history and not a concern moving forward. 

Like any player currently on the Bills roster, Thomas has a chance to play in the NFL. He may be a numbers casualty but he may also be a developmental player if he continues to improve his game and maintain his health.