#3 – Earl Thomas

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Earl Thomas might not be the best safety in the NFL.  Then again, he might.

The raw numbers do not necessarily paint the full picture of what Earl Thomas brings to the table.  Fourth on the team in tackles, tied for second on the team with 3 interceptions, alone on the team in second in passes defended, with a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown to his credit in 2012.  But, he’s so much more than just those stats alone.  He’s the anchor to this defense – and especially this secondary – that lets other guys do what they do best.  Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are both top-notch, physical cornerbacks.  But, would they be able to do what they do (and do it as well) without Earl Thomas in centerfield?

If Richard Sherman is “Optimus Prime,” then I’m going to lobby that we start calling Earl Thomas “Batman.”  He is EVERYWHERE at once!  He’s on top of you before you even have time to react!  He only reveals himself at the last second, when he swoops in to save the day.  How many quarterbacks are baited into throwing down field, only to find Batman swinging in to knock the ball down?  How many balls fall helplessly to the ground thanks to the sheer force of Batman’s hits?  How many times are running backs and running quarterbacks stopped in their tracks as Batman pounds them into submission?

Earl Thomas was an All Pro in 2012.  For some reason, that had previously slipped my mind and I was going to come on here and rail against the Associated Press, but then I double-checked and lo and behold, there he is!  2012 was his third season in the NFL.  He was the second safety taken in the 2010 draft, behind Kansas City’s Eric Berry.  Berry was always going to be the guy we compared Thomas to because both were so highly touted.  Thomas was picked 9 spots after Berry, yet both have had their share of success.  Still, Berry lost all of 2011 to an ACL injury, and I don’t see that he’s been an All Pro (just a couple of Pro Bowl selections).  When you factor all of that in, plus the fact that Thomas’ rookie contract was worth about $40 million less (Berry being the highest-paid Safety in football at the time of his deal, at 6 years, $60 mil), there is no doubt in my mind that the Seahawks got the better deal.  Of course, when Thomas’ contract expires and it’s time to renew, I think there will be a new leader for highest-paid safety in football.

There’s no reason to expect anything less than his All Pro level of play going into 2013.  What’s truly frightening is that, since it’ll be his fourth year, odds are he’s going to continue to get BETTER.  Opposing receivers should be shitting their pants when they see the Seahawks on the schedule.

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