clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Two former Texas Longhorns among NFL’s Top 10 safeties

New, comments

#DBU

Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

We all know that the Texas Longhorns are the official DBU, but if you needed any more proof look no further than this Fox Sports list of the NFL’s top 10 safeties, which includes not one but two Texas Exes, with Kenny Vaccaro coming in at No. 8 and Earl Thomas taking the top spot.

Here is what the site’s Cameron DaSilva had to say about Vaccaro, now with the New Orleans Saints:

Coming out of Texas, Vaccaro was thought to be a safety who could cover smaller, quicker slot receivers and drop back into coverage as a true free safety. His position flexibility was a big reason why he was taken 15th overall in 2013. Vaccaro took a bit of time to flourish into the player he was expected to be, but he elevated his game playing closer to the line of scrimmage in 2015. He totaled 104 tackles and five passes defensed, though he didn't record a single interception. Importantly, though, he remained healthy and in the starting lineup. Vaccaro's quick feet are like those of a nickel corner, and that helps to make up for his lackluster hands. In order to take his game to another level, Vaccaro has to get his hands on more footballs and create turnovers, something he's only done five times in his career. For now, he's a versatile weapon on the Saints defense.

And Thomas, the Seattle Seahawks star and best safety in the league:

Simply put, Earl Thomas is the epitome of what an ideal safety is in today's NFL. He has every quality a coach would want in a rangy safety on defense. Thomas isn't the fastest player in the league, but he has outstanding closing speed and short area quickness to make necessary adjustments when both tackling and making plays on the ball. What he lacks in size he makes up for in elite athleticism and smarts -- the latter of which is arguably his best asset. No safety in the league diagnoses plays in the middle of the field better than Thomas does. Whether it's a receiver coming across the middle or one streaking down the sideline, Thomas can cover them all.

After a down season in 2014 when he only picked off one pass, Thomas returned to his ballhawking form in 2015, intercepting five. Once again, he played all 16 games as he's done in each of his six seasons, recording 64 tackles and one forced fumble. Thomas has long been the game's best safety, and that's not going to change next season. He's the complete package and without him, Seattle's defense wouldn't be nearly the same. He's a big reason why Richard Sherman and Seattle's cornerbacks can play as aggressive as they do. There isn't a team out there that wouldn't want Thomas on its roster.

While Ohio State also placed two players on the list with Kurt Coleman and Malcolm Jenkins, the ‘Horns still come out ahead by holding down the No. 1 spot. Texas was also the only Big 12 school represented.