Earl Thomas: I want to be NFL's best defensive player


NEWARK, N.J. -- Earl Thomas isn't satisfied with topping Around The League's list of the NFL's best safeties.

His goal is to beat teammate Richard Sherman for Defensive Player of the Year honors this season and in the future.

Can the Seahawks' historically stingy defense stop the Broncos' record-setting offense?

Super Bowl XLVIII

» Matchup breakdown: Seahawks vs. Broncos
» Schedule of events
» Guide to the big game
» Historical Super Bowl results
» Test your Super Bowl trivia knowledge

"I want to be the best -- not just safety or corner -- but defensive player," Thomas said Tuesday at Super Bowl Media Day.

Sherman is constantly in the spotlight, garnering national attention for his mouth, coverage skills and interceptions. It's Thomas, though, who keys Seattle's historically great pass defense.

With a top-end cornerback's speed, Thomas' freakish range allows the rest of the Seahawks' defensive backs to take more chances. He is the fulcrum on which coach Pete Carroll's pressuring defense rests.

Carroll believes Thomas is as good as any safety he's ever coached. It's high praise coming from a legend who has worked with a Hall of Famer (Ronnie Lott), Defensive Player of the Year (Troy Polamalu) and several All-Pros (Joey Browner, Tim McDonald, Lawyer Milloy) at the position.

Still just 24 years old with three Pro Bowls under his belt, Thomas has a chance to rival the likes of J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn as the league's premier defensive player over the next half-decade.

We handed out awards for the 2014 coaching class and talked all the latest headlines in the latest "Around The League Podcast."