By John Boyle
All year long, Seahawks coaches have said that free safety Earl Thomas is having a better second year than rookie season even if the interception numbers don’t show it. Well apparently Pro Bowl voters have noticed his improved play as well, because Thomas was named a starter on this year’s NFC Pro Bowl team, giving Seattle its first Pro Bowler since 2008.
Thomas won’t likely be the only Seahawk in Hawaii, because five other Seahawks were named Pro Bowl alternates. CB Brandon Browner, SS Kam Chancellor and FB Michael Robinson were all named first alternates, RB Marshawn Lynch was named a second alternate, and P Jon Ryan was a third alternate.
This will be the first year the Seahawks have been represented in the Pro Bowl since 2008 when linebacker Julian Peterson and tackle Walter Jones were both honored. Thomas is also the first Seahawks safety to make the squad since Darryl Williams in 1997.
These Pro Bowl selections highlight the work GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll have done finding talent. Obviously Thomas, the No. 14 pick last year, was expected to be a Pro Bowl caliber player, but take a look at the alternates: Browner went undrafted out of Oregon State and has spent the last four years in the CFL, Chancellor was a fifth-round pick that a lot of teams though was too big to play safety, and Robinson was a running back who San Francisco cut before the start of last season. Even Lynch, who was a fairly big-name acquisition, came to Seattle for a relatively low price of a fourth-round pick in 2011 and a conditional fifth or sixth-round pick in 2012.