That said, I really like the kid and hope he stays healthy and sees the field a lot this year.
That said, I really like the kid and hope he stays healthy and sees the field a lot this year.
Last edited by steelblood; 04-30-2013 at 02:40 PM.
1 Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
2 Ifo Ekpre-Olomu CB Oregon
3 (comp) Ben Gardner DE
4 Cody Hoffman WR BYU
5 Dri Archer RB / WR Kent St
6 C.J. Barnett S OSU
7 Marcel Jensen TE Fresno St
The Steel Mill
Instant analysis (SHAMARKO THOMAS)
April 27th, 2013
The Steelers were so enamored with Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas that they were willing to give up a 2014 third-round pick in order to jump into the third round to draft him. With the Steelers likely to get a third-round compensatory pick next year for the loss of Mike Wallace, it made getting rid of next year’s pick more plausible.
Yes, it was another need pick with the loss of Will Allen and Ryan Mundy via free agency but another good need pick that provides the Steelers will some depth at safety.
The Steelers were in dire need of making the safety position younger and they were able to fill that with a guy who is so versatile enough that he covered USC receiver Robert Woods all over the field when Syracuse played them last year. Woods was taken in the seconds round by Buffalo.
“This guy loves to play football and his tape tells the story,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
Steelers defensive back coach Carnell Lake said that the 5-foot-9 frame of Thomas was the only reason he wasn’t selected earlier in the draft.
“In my opinion, if he was two inches taller he would’ve been in the first round,” Lake said. “He has size, he has speed, he has strength. He is very aware on the field. He cannot only play safety but he can play man-to-man on the slot receiver. He has played nickel and corner at times. He has not only going to do well for out secondary but special teams as well.”
Thomas will be able to get on the field early for the Steelers if not in the secondary but on special teams. Behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, the Steelers have second-year guy Robert Golden and practice-squad player Damon Cromartie Smith.
Instant analysis: Good, solid pick.
I love that Lake loves this guy.
In the article he mentions why in the heck would syracuse play their starting SS at CB to defend the other teams best player? Well, it's cuz he's that good. And it's SHADES of Carnell's former self when he had to move to CB from SS and played awesome! And remember Lake played LB early in his college career!
Unusual move lands a hard-hitting safety for the Steelers
May 3, 2013
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers traded up in the NFL draft to take Shamarko Thomas, right, a 5-foot-9, 213-pound safety from Syracuse.
In Shamarko Thomas, the Steelers hope they have found the next Bob Sanders, a compact, powerfully built safety who delivers torpedo-style hits. They hope he is not the next Anthony Smith.
Thomas is a 5-foot-9, 213-pound bundle of speed and unbridled power, and the Steelers thought enough of him to do something they rarely do -- trade away a future draft choice.
And the decision, strangely enough, was based on draft choices they don't have. At least, not right now.
"He's not the biggest kid, but he certainly doesn't play that way," general manager Kevin Colbert said. "He leaves it on the field."
The Steelers needed a safety because they have little depth behind Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark after backups Will Allen and Ryan Mundy signed elsewhere in free agency.
In addition, Clark is 34 and Polamalu could be facing the same situation in 2014 that James Harrison did this year if he doesn't have a more significant impact on the defense. Polamalu missed nine games last season because of injuries and finished with just one interception and no forced fumbles or fumble recoveries.
So the Steelers traded their third-round choice in 2014 to the Cleveland Browns to draft Thomas with the 111th overall selection -- four spots ahead of their own fourth-round choice. It was the first time since 1973 the Steelers traded a future draft choice, but they did it because they expect to get third- and fourth-round compensatory picks in 2014 for Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall and Keenan Lewis.
"We viewed him as valuable as a third-round pick would be," Colbert said.
Pitt fans will remember Thomas for his vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end J.P Holtz in a game at the Carrier Dome last season -- a play in which Thomas' helmet went flying off his head and he immediately collapsed to the ground. The play happened in the fourth quarter, and Thomas never returned to the game.
But that is the way he plays.
There were 10 other safeties selected before Thomas, even though he ran the fastest 40-time of any safety at the NFL combine (averaging 4.42 for his two runs). He also had the best vertical jump of any safety (40 1/2 inches) and did 28 reps on the 225-pound bench. That's more than three top first-round draft picks -- defensive ends Ziggy Ansah and Bjoern Werner and inside linebacker Kevin Minter -- did.
Thomas posted his best 40 time at the combine -- 4.38 seconds -- despite stumbling and doing something of a face plant at the end of his first attempt.
"He even hits the ground violently," said secondary coach Carnell Lake.
But, because he is 5-9, Thomas lasted until the 111th overall pick.
The Steelers were going to draft Thomas in the third round, but instead chose wide receiver Markus Wheaton of Oregon State because they felt there was a bigger need at that position. That night, at the end of the draft, Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin decided they were going to trade into a higher spot on the fourth round and take Thomas with their first pick Saturday.
The Steelers were afraid that Thomas' former coach, Doug Marrone, eventually would draft him for his new team, the Buffalo Bills.
This isn't the first time the Steelers have drafted a physical, rock-ribbed safety from Syracuse in the third round.
In 2006, they drafted Smith, a chiseled, hard-hitting safety, with the first of two picks they acquired on the third round from Minnesota. Smith, though, did not endear himself to Tomlin when he guaranteed a win against the Patriots in New England late in 2007 -- a game in which he was beaten twice for long touchdowns in a 34-13 loss.
Thomas has the same torpedo-like tendencies when he tackles, but the Steelers hope he plays with more discipline than Smith -- and doesn't guarantee victories.
Unlike Smith, who was a free safety, Thomas played strong safety with Syracuse. He is the first strong safety from the school to be drafted since Donovin Darius in 1998.
The Steelers likely will use Thomas at free safety because that is the position that calls the defensive backfield signals, something he did at Syracuse.
"I will play anywhere they want me," Thomas said. "I just want to be on the field. I want to help out the Steelers."
But Lake said he could also play in the nickel.
"The great thing about this young man is, if you were in a pinch and you didn't want to put the nickel package out there and you wanted him to play man-to-man on the slot, he could do it," Lake said. "He has done it in big games already against some of the receivers that have been drafted in the first two rounds and he shut them down.
"That is the kind of safety I like. That is the kind of safety the Steelers are looking for. Not only will he cover well, but he will hit you and hit you hard."
It would be a classy move by the FO to sign him quickly imo, as his parents died and he is supporting his siblings.
Saw where Colbert thinks they'll get a third and fourth round comp pick next year for Wallace and Allen.
Steelers’ rookie defensive back Thomas doesn’t lack motivation
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Monday, May 6, 2013
Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau talks with fourth-round pick Shamarko Thomas during rookie minicamp May 3, 2013, on the South Side.
The Steelers jettisoned veterans Ryan Mundy and Will Allen in the offseason, leaving the safety position a little thin with no starting experience behind Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu:
Name Age Exp. Starts
Ryan Clark 33 11 121
Troy Polamalu 32 10 114
Ross Ventrone 26 2 0
Robert Golden 22 2 0
Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith 26 1 0
Shamarko Thomas 22 R 0
After getting his life headed in the right direction near the end of his high school playing career after “following the wrong crowd,” coupled with a productive freshman year at Syracuse, Shamarko Thomas' dream of playing in the NFL not only seemed attainable, but was all but a sure thing.
That dream quickly changed.
In a nine-month span during his sophomore season at Syracuse, it was no longer a dream but an absolute necessity.
Thomas' mother, Ebeth Shabazz, died suddenly at age 36 of an undiagnosed heart condition nine months after his stepfather, Abdul Shabazz, was killed in a motorcycle crash.
Thomas was just 20 years old at the time. He was thrust into becoming a de facto parent of four younger brothers and a sister — ranging in age from 6 to 16 — in his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va.
“Those are my babies,” Thomas said. “I use my brothers and sister as motivation. I have to take care of them. It's a big motivation.”
It was motivation that got Thomas up early in the morning to work out during college. It was motivation for him to stay late every night to the point where he would get kicked out of the weight room. It was motivation that helped Thomas post NFL-scouting-combine-bests at his position in the 40-yard dash (4.42 seconds), bench press (28 reps), broad jump (133 inches) and vertical leap (40½ inches) — figures that allowed teams to overlook his height (5-foot-9) and draft him.
The Steelers were first in line and did something they rarely do — trade a future pick to secure another fourth-round selection, in order to select Thomas.
“I think if he had two more inches he would have been in the first round in my opinion. That's how highly I think of this young man,” Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said. “He has size, he has speed and he has strength.”
Thomas hasn't signed his rookie contract, but where he was slotted in the fourth round — 109th overall — it likely will net him a four-year, $2.7 million deal. About $500,000 will be guaranteed — plenty of money to provide for his family.
“My motivation was always about providing for them,” Thomas said. “I just took grasp of it and embraced it. Sure, it was tough to deal with, especially being young and in college, but Syracuse had a great support system. Coach (Doug) Marrone stayed on me and my teammates. They are my best friends. They kept me motivated and focused.”
Thomas' brothers and sister are living with his grandmother in Chesapeake, Va.
Thomas' style of play has been compared to some of the best: Ronnie Lott, Bob Sanders and the late Sean Taylor, all of whom were physical and fast.
“He's not the biggest kid, but he certainly doesn't play that way,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said. “He leaves it on the field.”
Even though he is a little undersized, Lake liked Thomas because of his ability to play deep safety, defend a receiver in the slot, play cornerback in a pinch and, of course, his tackling awareness.
“This is the kind of safety I like,” Lake said. “This is the kind of safety that the Steelers are looking for. Not only will he cover well, but he will hit you and hit you hard.”
Thomas had a solid junior season at Syracuse and contemplated turning pro before deciding to come back for his senior year. He started all 13 games for the Orange and led the team with 88 tackles and three forced fumbles. Thomas was a consensus All-Big East first-team selection.
“There are some people who think I am too short,” Thomas said. “My ‘too short' got me here, so I am happy to be a part of Steelers Nation.”
The Steelers were in need of depth at safety. Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark are the only two at the position on the roster who have started in the NFL. Polamalu and Clark have 235 career starts between them. The rest of the safeties on the roster — Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith, Ross Ventrone, Robert Golden — have zero.
“My job is to get him ready,” Lake said. “I think since I've been here, going on my third year, it hasn't really been that much of an issue.”
Really a lot to like about this player. Can't wait to see him in action throughout TC and pre-season. Meanwhile this is fun to.
Uhh! Someone said he has been practicing that play where Troy leaps over the line and grabs the QB. But only Shark is doing it while the QB is in the shotgun.
I don't think he has tried it blocking punts yet.
Rumor is they are working him in on some RB plays.
Someone said the draft pick came down to either Shark or Chuck Norris. No coin flip was necessary.