If Julius Thomas was looking for an opportunity to force his way into the Broncos lineup after playing just nine games in his first two seasons, he just got it.

Thomas, a fourth-round pick in 2011, is a former basketball player with physical gifts that have intrigued the Broncos but injuries have kept him from catching more than one pass in his career thus far. He’s going to have a chance to show the Broncos that he’s capable of much more this spring, however.

Tight end Joel Dreessen, who started 15 games and caught 41 passes last season, will be out until training camp after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee. Coach John Fox didn’t sound worried about Dreessen and shone a spotlight on Thomas’ chance to impress the coaches.