One of the best safeties in the league, Thomas heads into 2017 looking to rebound after a disheartening end to the 2016 campaign. The hard-hitting defensive back was placed on injured reserve after fracturing his tibia in Week 13, ending his season with 48 tackles, 10 pass defensed, two interceptions and a touchdown in 11 contests. While the injury was devastating, even causing Thomas to question retirement last season, the Pro Bowler is expected to be good and ready for the start of the regular season. Once the most dominant portion of an electrifying defense, the Legion of Boom has plenty of uncertainty heading into 2017 given Thomas and Kam Chancellor's injuries and Richard Sherman's discontent with the team. Although Thomas took a step back last season, it'd be foolish to not consider a top IDP safety as long as he can remain healthy.
Thomas has been maddeningly difficult to forecast from year to year. The skill set is a constant – he's simply an excellent safety, one of the best in recent memory – but his presence in the box score has proven highly volatile for whatever reason. It's safe to say he's one of the best bets among safeties to produce a standout interception total in any given year, but the tackle totals fluctuate wildly. He has three seasons with 92 or more, but the other three saw 71 or fewer tackles logged. Still, Thomas is worth selecting in this range because he has DB1 upside if you get the tackling version.
The league's premier playmaker at free safety, Thomas has even more interception upside than his career stats show — he's rangy, athletic and runs like a cornerback even as he provides a big-hitting presence in the secondary. He has 16 interceptions in five seasons but could be due for an interception spree behind's Seattle's fierce pass rush after snagging just one last season. He's had nearly 100 tackles in three of the last four years, a fluky 61-tackle season in 2012 the lone exception. Thomas played with a torn labrum in the Super Bowl and might not be ready for training camp, but is expected to be healthy for Week 1.
Thomas has always earned extremely high marks for his effectiveness in real football terms – he's widely recognized as one of the top players on Seattle's league-best defense – but his IDP utility never really matched his real-life value before last season. His 92-tackle 2011 season was sandwiched between a 71-tackle 2010 rookie season and a 61-tackle 2012 season, so he didn't seem like much of a tackle-source heading into last year. Thomas went off in 2013, making 105 stops (78 solo) to go along with five interceptions, increasing his career interception total to 15. While Thomas' year-to-year tackle fluctuation implies that he might be a bit more risky than some of the other players in this range, his risk factor is offset a bit by his consistency in coverage. He has two five-interception seasons in his five-year career, and he should continue making plays in coverage thanks to Seattle's dominant pass rush forcing bad throws.
Thomas is coming off a remarkably weak IDP campaign in which he totaled just 61 tackles, but that number seems like a fluke, and few safeties have Thomas' ball skills. After such an improbably unproductive year, it's time for the pendulum to swing back for Thomas. He had 92 tackles in the 2011 season, and he's due for a breakout interception season after pulling in only five over the last two seasons. A stronger Seattle pass rush should help him on that front.
Thomas was the heavy favorite to be Seattle's the top IDP option last year, but his failure to meet that mark had more to do with Kam Chancellor's surprising ascent rather than any decline on Thomas' part. The 2010 first-round pick finished last year with 98 tackles (69 solo) and two interceptions. It was basically the opposite stat line than what was expected from Thomas, who is known for his coverage skills rather than his tackling ability. He remains one of the league's most talented safeties, in any case, so he could find a happy medium between last year's tackle-heavy stats and the turnover potential he showed as a rookie when he intercepted five passes. It's worth noting that though Thomas' ceiling doesn't appear to be as high as Chancellor's, Thomas' floor is arguably higher since he hasn't missed a game in his two NFL seasons.
The list of safeties that can match Thomas’ potential as a coverage specialist is very short. The 14th overall pick from the 2010 draft is a rangy playmaker with cornerback-like speed and generally good instincts. His short-term fantasy value might be limited due to his modest run-stopping abilities, however, as he finished last year with a mostly average total of 76 tackles (64 solo). He really hit the rookie wall toward the end of the year, totaling just 13 tackles (11 solo) in his last five games, but the 22-year-old should be more consistent in his sophomore season.
The 14th overall pick in the 2010 Draft,
Thomas is expected to start at free safety for
Pete Carroll’s Seahawks, replacing Jordan
Babineaux whose 104 tackles ranked fifth
among defensive backs last season. At 5-10,
197, Thomas is a touch on the small side for an
NFL safety — he’s more of a cornerback/safety
‘tweener at this point — but is highly regarded
for his ball-hawking skills. He’s not known for
his tackling, but as Babineaux showed last
season, the opportunities should be there. And
whatever tackles he leaves on the field, he
should make up for it with picks as he has great