RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Earl Thomas was expected to be great. That’s why the Seattle Seahawks spent a first-round pick in 2010 on the speedy safety.

Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner? They were all afterthoughts, bypassed by one team or another at some point in their careers because they didn’t fit a specific framework.

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But the Seahawks took a gamble on each of the three and, along with Thomas, they have made Seattle’s secondary one of the best units in the NFL. It’s recognition they accept but realize they need to live up to beginning with Sunday’s opener at Arizona.

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By the end of last season the foursome was the most acclaimed group among Seattle’s young and improving defense. Browner, Thomas and Chancellor all ended up playing in the Pro Bowl.

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— Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.