Seattle’s very own version of “Thunder and Lightning” have come in the form of the 6’3′ 232lbs Kam Chancellor and the 5′ 10″ 202lbs Earl Thomas.
These Seahawks safeties have been named one of the top NFC tandems by ESPN’s Gary Horton and why not? The two compiled 186 tackles together and managed 6 interception. That number may be low, but these monsters have broken up several passes and have cause a lot of second guessing by their opposing offenses. Chancellor and Thomas are claimed to have a telepathic-type connection with each other on the field. They managed to create several turnovers and are commonly in stride with one another. The two were also the youngest starting safeties in the NFL last season.
“They are a special pair,” said Seattle secondary coach Kris Richard after their first game in San Francisco. “You can tell how committed they are; they love playing ball and playing it the right way. To be so young and be so far ahead of the game is remarkable.”
Kam Chancellor was picked up in the fifth round of the 2010 draft from Virginia Tech. At age 22, Chancellor played in all 16 games, but as a back up to veteran Lawyer Milloy. In his rookie year he had 23 tackles, two forced fumbles, one sack, and no interceptions. After getting the go ahead to the starting strong safety position in 2011, he amassed 75 tackles with 22 assists, three force fumbles, one sack, and four interceptions. He was considered to be nicknamed “Thunder” due to being a man with such a large frame, as well as his ability to lay the hard hits. He was also called up to the 2012 Pro Bowl at the end of the season, his first time in his first full year.
Earl Thomas was selected fourteenth over all in the 2010 draft out of Texas. At the age of 20 years old, he was the youngest player that had been eligible for the draft. In his first season with the Seahawks, Thomas had 76 tackles, 64 of those were solo tackles, one forced fumble, five interceptions, and several broken up passes. He had several game saving plays that helped elevate the 2010 Seahawks advance to the playoff, the only team with a record under .500 to do so.
Thomas had another stellar year in 2011, teaming up with his new best friend on and off the field, he collected 98 tackles, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and another hefty amount of broken up passes. He was also selected to play in the Pro Bowl of 2012 after only his second year at the age of 22 and was selected a second-team All-Pro. Thomas was considered to be nick named “Lightning” in the duo, do to his speed for a safety. NFL top 100 also ranked him as number 66.
With all the selections on defense this year, Seattle will only improve on an already swift and stealthy defense. Adding a better pass rush will only allow for more action in the middle for “Thunder and Lightning” to make big plays and up the turnover numbers this season.
“We always tell each other we’re trying to be the best safety tandem in the league,” Chancellor said last year following their week one game in San Francisco.
With all the honors and achievement that these two young players have received, it would appear that the sky is the limit on one of the best two safeties to ever play in the NFL and a tempest for anyone brave enough to challenge them in the secondary.