He is the No. 1 tackler on the league’s No. 2 unit in terms of fewest yards per game allowed.
And while teammate Marshawn Lynch is synonymous with Skittles, dare we link Seattle Seahawks free safety Earl Thomas to an English muffin?
After all, the former first-round pick has lived up to the promises by filling just about every nook and cranny on the defensive side of the ball.
The three-year veteran leads Pete Carroll’s team with 78 tackles, has knocked down seven passes and forced a pair of fumbles and is tied for the club lead with four interceptions.
The Seahawks enter their off week riding a six-game winning streak and know that regardless of what the San Francisco 49ers and/or the Arizona Cardinals do next week, they will own at least a three-game lead with five weeks to go.
And that means that Thomas and his teammates could be adding a popping sound to the “Legion of Boom.”
As for some of the other standout defenders around the league, here’s...
2. DE Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets: Rex Ryan’s team may be alternating wins and losses, but its star defensive end has been pretty steady all season. Even in Sunday’s 37-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills, Wilkinson managed to total nine tackles and knock down a pass. He is a big reason that the Jets’ improved defense is first in the league in rushing yards per game allowed.
3. OLB Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs: For the first time all season, the Chiefs not only lost, but also allowed more than 17 points in a game (although they held the Denver Broncos to a season-low 27 points). And while Houston had a problem getting to Peyton Manning, he still totaled 10 tackles and knocked down a pass in the Sunday night setback. The outside linebacker now ranks fourth on the team with 43 stops and still owns a career-high 11.0 sacks.
4. OLB Robert Mathis, Indianapolis Colts: Chuck Pagano’s team continues to dig some early holes and, for the most part, quarterback Andrew Luck and Co. have managed to escape with wins. Mathis still leads the league with 13.5 sacks, but that Indianapolis defense remains very much a work in progress.
5. MLB Luke Kuechly, Carolina Panthers: Last season’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year has had another solid season as the leader of the league’s third-ranked defense. And over the last two weeks, Kuechly has come up big against the big boys, totaling a combined 23 tackles in wins over the San Francisco 49ers (11) and New England Patriots (12).
In The Discussion
6. OLB Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
7. CB Richard Sherman, Seattle Seahawks
8. DE Robert Quinn, St. Louis Rams
9. DE J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
10. DT Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions