9. Earl Thomas, S, Seahawks

Wednesday August 10th, 2016

Last season marked the first year since his rookie season of 2010 that Thomas did not earn some level of AP All-Pro honor—he was a first-teamer from ’12 to ’14. So, sure, Thomas may not have reached the insanely high bar he set for himself in previous seasons last year, but he still matched career highs in interceptions (five) and pass breakups (nine). More than that, he remains the standard at his position. Teams that have tried to replicate Seattle’s defensive approach repeatedly have run into the same issue: players like Thomas are almost impossible to find. He has the range to disrupt offenses from sideline to sideline, backed with the instincts to step up inside the hash marks. While Richard Sherman long has been the face of Seattle’s vaunted defense, Thomas is the straw that stirs the drink.

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