When it was announced that Terrell Thomas would miss the entire season with a torn ACL, I basically wrote the Giants off. About twenty four hours later, I talked myself back into believing that Big Blue had a chance (turns out I was right!), but the fact is that Thomas had become such an important player that his injury was arguably the biggest hurdle the Giants had to overcome this season.
A second round pick, even a late one, is usually expected to contribute early in his career and develop into a quality starter. Thomas did exactly that, and if not for that torn ACL, I believe he would currently be considered one of the top defensive backs in the game. While Corey Webster has developed into a legitimate #1 cornerback, Thomas was the team’s best defensive back over his last two healthy seasons.
Although he was the tenth cornerback taken in the 2008 draft, Thomas quickly made teams regret passing over him. He overcame injury issues to put forth a solid 12-game rookie campaign, but it wasn’t until his sophomore season that he really broke out. The youngster out of USC was forced into the starting lineup due to an Aaron Ross injury, and he never relinquished the starting role. Thomas quickly became one of the league’s best young corners, wracking up 85 tackles and five interceptions. In his third season, Thomas was a pro bowl snub, again picking off five passes and totaling an impressive 101 tackles. The Giants’ secondary had a healthy share of issues, but Thomas was certainly not one of them.
Unfortunately, Thomas’ knee injury was a serious one, and he now enters free agency with questions looming as to whether or not he will return to form. Hopefully the Giants will bring him back, and his recovery will be quicker than that of former college and pro teammate Steve Smith. No matter what happens during the remainder of his career, Thomas was a steal as the final pick in the second round of the 2008 draft.