The Seattle Seahawks have had three-fourths of their defensive backs appear in the Pro Bowl at least once in the past two seasons. Free safety Earl Thomas, strong safety Kam Chancellor, and cornerback Brandon Browner have each played in the game, while potentially the best of the bunch, Richard Sherman, had to “settle” for merely joining Thomas as an All Pro in 2012.
The “Legion of Boom” has become known around the NFL for its style of play and impressive results.
One player the country doesn’t know about yet, but will soon enough, is cornerback Walter Thurmond III.
Thumond was a fourth-round draft pick from Oregon in 2010. He had been a projected second-round draft choice prior to his senior season but suffered a torn ACL, MCL, and PCL in the fourth game on a kick-off return and missed the remainder of the year. This afforded the Seahawks the chance to get a quality prospect at a discounted price.
Thurmond impressively rehabilitated his shredded knee and was on the field less than a year later for the Seahawks, and appeared in 14 games as a rookie. It looked like he would make an impact for the team when he had returned to full strength in 2011, but another injury forced him to miss more time.
In an October game in Cleveland he broke his left fibula and injured his ankle in a violent collision breaking up a pass. He was placed on injured-reserve.
Again, Thurmond found himself rehabilitating an injury in preparation for 2012 but, as fate would have it, he fractured the same bone again and needed another surgery. This re-injury and rehabilitation meant he would be placed on the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list and would miss the start of the season.
As usual, Thurmond worked hard and returned to the field. He appeared in six games for the Seahawks this past season and played well, considering that he had missed training camp and didn’t practice with the team until October. He showed the talent that is going to make him a great player until he suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the season.
It is now the off-season, and I had been planning to write this very article about how Thurmond is going to be a key player for the Seahawks in 2013. My only concern is his health, as I know the talent is there to be one of the better corners in the NFL.
So I contacted Thurmond via Twitter and now have some answers to share in my exchanges with him. He tweeted that he is “100 percent healthy as a football player can be.” If he is close to 100 percent, I will say that he is going explode onto the scene for the Seahawks this upcoming season, especially with a new and improved pass rush.
When asked about his role on the team moving forward, he said that he is going to compete for a starting job outside and in the slot. This isn’t a knock against Browner, who I know is a good football player, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thurmond end up as one of the starting corners.
At the very least, Thurmond is going to have a great year covering the slot receiver. He is too talented and has shown too much potential when he’s been on the field not to have a huge impact. After all, this is the man who became a starter in 2011 when Marcus Trufant was injured, not Sherman.
Many people know about the playmaking ability of Chancellor and Browner, but if I look into my crystal ball and project who will have the best year in the Seattle secondary after Thomas and Sherman, my money would be on Thurmond.
When asked if my predicted play of his in 2013 will price himself out of what Seattle may be willing to pay, he did say that his first choice is Seattle and that he likes it there. I like him in Seattle, too, especially after taking time to communicate with a true Seahawks fan about the upcoming season.