Steelers deal within division, give up 2014 third round pick to Cleveland for Shamarko Thomas
By Michael Uhlhorn on Apr 27 2013
Will Shamarko Thomas be worth the 2014 third rounder given up to select him? Or did the Steelers make a mistake moving up in the fourth round for the second year in a row?
For the second year in a row, the Steelers picked their man in the 4th round and went out and got him. Hopefully there are two major differences between these two 4th round picks, and only one of them has anything to do with the trade.
Pittsburgh gave up a 2014 3rd round pick to divisional-rival Cleveland for the rights to select Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse.
It's the first time since 1974 the Steelers have traded a future pick, and coach Chuck Noll vowed it would never happen again.
Trading a future pick is an atypical move for Pittsburgh, but for a team expected to receive a third round compensation pick for Mike Wallace, and potentially a fourth round pick for Keenan Lewis, the move seems to be calculated to take advantage of a need this year.
Pittsburgh currently lacks anything I am confident can start with the inevitable injury that should befall one of the team's starting safeties. Robert Golden could be serviceable, but Thomas immediately becomes the best backup on the roster.
Thomas has been compared to Bob Sanders, and that is based on more than just his small stature (5'8" and change). Thomas can hit like a linebacker, and plays surprisingly big in pass coverage. I expect him to be the heir apparent to Troy Polamalu, and Tomlin told NFL Network he expects Thomas to be "a core special teams player immediately."
With regards to what the Steelers had to give up, it hurts to lose a third in what should be a pretty deep 2014 draft, but as I noted above, Pittsburgh expects a compensatory pick in the third round after losing Mike Wallace to Miami this offseason.
Thomas is a second to third round prospect who would be ranked higher if he were taller, and presents great value in the middle of the fourth round. Pittsburgh likely had to move ahead of Dallas to secure Thomas, and gave up nothing from this draft, which, as it has been noted, is important given Pittsburgh's many needs heading into the season.
On a tangent, this is yet more evidence that the Steelers should have let Sanders walk when he signed a tender with the Patriots. By grabbing Markus Wheaton, who I believe will make a far better pro than Sanders, and having to move up to grab Thomas, a player that would have presented great value still at the end of the third, the Steelers gave up a third round pick in 2014 for the rights to keep Manny Sanders for one year.
I am loving this draft (though I still need convincing that Le'Veon Bell is going to be more Eddie George than Ron Dayne, not to open that wound again), and believe the Steelers have drafted an immediate impact player at OLB, a future starter at WR, an immediate starter at RB, a future starting SS, and a solid backup QB.
I am not a draft guy at all, but this one is odd to me. Dude's a midget. NFL receivers are giant. I guess he is tagged as a pure safety, but i'm not the expert.
40 inch vertical is what Lake said about him.
Originally Posted by Djfan
Great pick, loved it. It was worth the trade imo. SHARK!
Tom Withers @twithersAP:
#Browns used 5 of 7 picks, made deal with #Steelers, took two Division II players, one with character issue, and safety off Achilles injury.
Got no problem with trading the 32nd pick in the 3rd round next year...:D
I like the way you think B&GinNC. :Beer
Originally Posted by B&GinNC
The safety was the day's highlight
The pick of the quarterback will draw the most attention, both favorable and negative. Quarterbacks carry that kind of panache, especially at the NFL level, and especially when the team in question is the Pittsburgh Steelers.
But in the final analysis of what the Steelers accomplished on this third day of the 2013 NFL Draft in terms of the potential impact on their immediate future, the move the team made in the fourth round to add Shamarko Thomas, a safety from Syracuse, will be the defining one. The Steelers added six players over the final four rounds of this draft, and Thomas is the one among those half-dozen who right now looks to have the best chance to impact the team.
The six players added via the draft on Sunday were Thomas and Oklahoma QB Landry Jones on the fourth round; Illinois CB Terry Hawthorne on the fifth round; Oklahoma WR Justin Brown and Florida State ILB Vince Williams on the sixth round; and DE Nick Williams from Samford on the seventh round.
“We’re happy that the process went, we think, very well for us,” said General Manager Kevin Colbert. “We think we’ve added some good young players who can come in and hopefully make us a better team.”
As for what makes Thomas potentially the jewel of this third-day group, allow defensive backs coach Carnell Lake to explain.
“If you look at the USC game, when Syracuse played USC, I noticed that when I was watching film on Shamarko that he was in the nickel position covering Robert Woods, who was drafted in the second round. I said, ‘Well you play the nickel also.’ He said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Well how come you were out wide playing Woods at the corner position. Did you play corner?’ He said. ‘No, it was still the nickel, but our coaching staff just wanted me to match up wherever he went.’
“And I thought that was really impressive. Why would you have your strong safety covering one of the better receivers in the draft man-to-man throughout the whole game? Woods had a very hard time getting off the jam with this kid. Not only that, but Shamarko went on and picked it one time when Woods ran down the seam. For me that was a game-changer. Sealed the deal in my opinion.”
Height was the reason why such a player was available when the fourth round of the draft began, and Lake even offered the opinion that if Thomas had been 5-foot-11 instead of 5-9, he would have been someone the Steelers might have had to consider picking in the first round.
To understand how much the Steelers liked Thomas, consider that the franchise had not traded away a pick in a future draft since 1973. Chuck Noll did it back then, and it was the first and last time he ever did. That trade brought veteran defensive tackle Tom Keating to the Steelers and sent the Raiders the team’s No. 3 pick in 1974. As the Steelers were drafting players in 1974 and were without that No. 3 pick, Noll had vowed, “Never again.”
The trade to be able to select Thomas involved sending a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns for their spot in the fourth round, which was the 111th overall, and four ahead of the Steelers’ own pick in that same fourth round.
Thomas joins a safety position that contains veteran starters Troy Polamaluand Ryan Clark but not much else behind them. There will be an opportunity for playing time, provided Thomas can master the Steelers sometimes-complex defensive system.
“I don’t think this will be a problem with this young man,” said Lake. “The reason why I don’t think our scheme will be an issue for him, especially after a year under his belt, is because he’s played so many positions for Syracuse. He hasn’t been pigeonholed in one position. He has played multiple positions and what that tells me is the kid has some intelligence, because you can’t just switch a guy from safety in a deep path to safety in the box to nickel-back to corner and him not knowing what he’s doing. So I like that flexibility this kid has.”
With the safety having been added to a draft class that already included an outside pass rusher in Jarvis Jones, a power back in Le’Veon Bell, and a speed receiver in Markus Wheaton, the Steelers decided the value that quarterback Landry Jones represented at the 115th pick overall was too much to ignore.
“We thought there were some good, young quarterbacks in this group, and when you have a franchise quarterback like we do, you really don’t get a lot of opportunities to add another young quarterback into the mix,” said Colbert. “Hopefully, we’re never in a position where we’re picking a top quarterback high, but when you look at the Landry Joneses of the world, this kid was highly regarded as an underclassman. Of course, he decided to stay (at Oklahoma), and he was available to us in this fourth round and we just thought it was a great opportunity to add a good, young quarterback. It’s a critical position, and you better keep adding young folks to that spot.”
The rest of the day’s picking lacked the drama/excitement that had been generated by the selections of Thomas and Landry, but Colbert – not surprisingly – is intrigued by the possibilities each of those players bring.
Terry Hawthorne is a big, fast cornerback from Illinois who already has the ability to line up in press coverage. Justin Brown is a 6-2 wide receiver who played his final college season at Oklahoma after transferring from Penn State in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Vince Williams is a find-the-ball inside linebacker from Florida State who should make new special teams coordinator Danny Smith sleep better at night. And Nicholas Williams is raw in that he has played only five years of football in his life, but he is a 309-pound man who can run, and so defensive line coach John Mitchell will put in the time teaching him how to be an end in a 3-4.
“With the nine picks, we’re at 74 (on our roster), so we can add 16 free agents once the draft is over,” said Colbert. “We just counted this up and I didn’t even know what the breakdown was, but we have five defensive players and four offensive players. Again, we like these picks and we just hope they’re the right ones who help us win games.”
Trade with Steelers tops one of Browns' strangest draft days
By Steve Doerschuk
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Apr 27, 2013
Cleveland Browns CEO Joe Banner's draft-day trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers highlighted one of the strangest drafts in team history.
Joe Banner is a plucky little cuss.
He boldly went where no Browns personnel man has gone before, at least not since 1968.
“I prefer to trade within the division,” the Browns’ CEO said after a strange closing day of the NFL draft. “You don’t make a trade if you don’t think you’re winning it. If you win a trade within your division, you’re obviously better off than winning a trade within another division.”
Such a tricky 2013 draft.
It occasioned the first Browns-Steelers trade since the year Richard Nixon edged Hubert Humphrey in a presidential election — the year Rob Chudzinski was born.
It was the first time Pittsburgh traded a future draft pick since the year Nixon resigned during his second term.
But then, it was the first time the Browns have conducted a draft under an owner who recently sold his share in the Steelers and is swimming in a federal investigation.
Unpredictability was predictable from a Browns draft room staffed by five men who were all someplace else at draft time last year.
Who knew “unpredictable” would translate to:
• Just two new players within the first 174 picks.
• A safety (Jamoris Slaughter, No. 175) who blew out an Achilles in September.
• A linebacker (Armonty Bryant, Round 7) busted for selling marijuana in October.
• That Pittsburgh trade.
With owner Jimmy Haslam’s on-premises approval, Banner opted to further test the patience of fans who already have suffered through five years of 23-57.
They, in consort with general manager Michael Lombardi, assistant GM Ray Horton and head coach Chudzinski, got through three days opting not to:
• Move down in Round 1 and replenish a lost Round 2 pick.
• Pick at No. 111 (Round 4), instead trading the pick to, yes, Pittsburgh, in exchange for the Steelers’ Round 3 pick in 2014.
• Pick at No. 139 (Round 5), taking a 2014 Round 4 pick from the Colts.
That left linebacker Barkevious Mingo at No. 6 and cornerback Leon McFadden at No. 68 as the team’s only picks until No. 175.
Analyst Mike Mayock, who worked with Lombardi at NFL Network, took a shot at reading the collective mind of the Browns’ brass as to deferring picks to next year.
“We’re kind of building with a three- to five-year plan here,” Mayock said.
That’s a miserable thought for Browns fans who have lived through five years in which the record was 4-12 or 5-11.