Will we finally see Pittsburgh Steelers rookie inside linebacker Matthew Thomas play some defensive snaps Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens? It’s hard to say for sure as we enter the weekend but the undrafted linebacker did let it be known after the team’s Friday practice that he did receive some first-team reps on defense this week.
According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com, Thomas said after Fridays practice that the Steelers coaches have told him to be ready Sunday night in case they need him after first confirming that he did indeed receive some first-team reps during the teams Thursday and Friday practices.
Rookie LB Matthew Thomas confirmed he’s received some first-team reps with the Steelers defense Thursday and Friday. Might still be experimental at this point but coaches have told him to be ready Sunday in case they need him.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 28, 2018
During the preseason, Thomas, who played his college football at Florida State, played some first-team reps as part of a special ‘Seminole’ defensive sub-package created with him in mind. Additionally, Thomas did rush some off the edge during the preseason in addition to mostly playing at the weak-side inside linebacker position.
Thomas’ elite athleticism was easily noticeable at various points during the preseason and how he was used at times made it easy to speculate that he would ultimately see time on defense at some point during his rookie season.
With Steelers veteran safety Morgan Burnett currently slowed by a groin injury, it makes you wonder if Thomas might see some limited playing time in the defensive dime package Sunday night against the Ravens.
Thomas ended the preseason as the team leader in total tackles with 22. He also registered a strip sack and recovered that loose football.