Linebacker Matthew Thomas Trending In The Right Direction

Even before training camp started, undrafted free agent linebacker Matthew Thomas had one objective, make the Pittsburgh Steelers roster. For someone who experienced a multitude of trials and tribulations during his collegiate career at Florida State, Thomas wanted to become more than just an average undrafted free agent.

The current issues at linebacker have been well documented after the first two preseason games. One would have assumed that the first-team defensive group would be the one to set the standard throughout the preseason. Instead, there remains a feeling of uncertainty, uncertainty with the current group of linebackers to consistently make plays. Thursday night against the Aaron Rodgers led Green Bay Packers, the Steelers defense has arguably their worst showing in the preseason ever. In addition to allowing 37 points and three different quarterbacks completing an average of 61 percent of their passes, what became evident was the absence of a playmaker in the middle, able to make the type of impact once made by Ryan Shazier.

One of the few bright spots defensively that evening was the play of Thomas. Whether he was chasing down Packers receiver Jake Kumerow from 15 yards away after a botched play from the secondary or finishing tackles, not only were his athletic abilities on full display, also his ability to make plays from different parts of the field. Thomas efficiency has recently given him recognition from an analytics standpoint, as Pro Football Focus named him to the preseason week 2 ‘Team of the Week’.  Even with a small sample size, Thomas’ efficiency put him above all the linebackers currently on the Steelers roster.

Continuity has been a theme with Thomas as he continues to develop into an all-around versatile defensive player. As the fanbase waits for that next great Steelers linebacker, in the small sample size he has shown, many believe he could be the one. As it stands, Thomas has a long road ahead of him to attain a roster spot as he sits on the depth chart behind Jon Bostic and LJ Fort, yet the only person that can stop him from attaining this goal is himself.

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