It’s safe to say Earl Thomas won’t be the player going forward that he once was. Not only is he quickly approaching 30, but he’s also suffered a pair of broken bones in his left leg over the past three years, including the season-ending injury he suffered last season.
Still, after signing a four-year, $55 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, one NFL analyst who’s uniquely qualified to assess the caliber of safeties believes he’ll be the Ravens’ closest thing to Ed Reed. During Thursday’s episode of “Undisputed,” Hall-of-Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, who spent two seasons in Baltimore toward the end of his career, called Thomas “the best safety in all of football,” better than fellow high-priced acquisitions like Landon Collins and Tyrann Mathieu.
“I believe Ed Reed is the greatest safety that I ever played against. He’s the greatest safety that I ever saw on tape,” Sharpe said. “Earl Thomas is not Ed Reed, but he might be the closest thing that someone has seen to Ed Reed. Eric Weddle is a good player, I believe Earl Thomas is a great player.”
“He is a playmaking safety,” Sharpe continued. “He can take the ball away and bring it back the other way, and that’s what Ravens fans are used to. They had 11, 12 years of Ed Reed doing those exact things. Now, he’s not quite that level, Skip. I believe he is the best free safety, no question, but I believe healthy, and he’ll be heathy this year, he’s the best safety in all of football. Landon Collins can’t do what he does. Now, Tyrann Mathieu might be close.”
Thomas follows in the footsteps of Reed and Eric Weddle as the Ravens’ latest impact player at safety. The 29 year old finished his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks with six Pro Bowl appearances, five All-Pro honorees, and one Super Bowl ring.