For those Cleveland Browns fans wondering which team got the better deal when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded a 2014 third-round pick to the Browns so they could draft safety Shamarko Thomas, Steelers' cornerback Ike Taylor has this for insight.
"By the time the end of next season comes, I'm going to say I told you so," Taylor said. "Once Shamarko gets an opportunity to start, ya'll going to see why we call him 'Headache' as a nickname. He's a young explosive guy that can run and hit. If you're going to have a knock on him, you may talk about his size. Everybody talked about Earl Thomas' size, but those guys in Seattle have been balling. So a football player is a football player, and that's Shamarko."
The Browns' deal with the Steelers was the first transaction made by the two teams since 1968. It's not like the Steelers needed any help from the Browns (the Browns have lost 18 of the last 20 against the Steelers), so a successful career for Thomas would not be a good look for the Browns. And until Thomas explodes, as predicted by Taylor, the Browns will have to hope for the best, or worst.
Thomas, meanwhile, has gone from the No. 3 safety in the rotation to more of a reduced roll, mainly because of Will Allen's strong play as the new No. 3 safety behind Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu.
Despite his recent reduction in play, Thomas' time is near because of the need for the Steelers to add youth to their veteran defensive backfield.
"He's going to be the future," Allen said. "Everyone's happy about his potential and what he can do. He's explosive. He can hit. He's going to bring that intimidating factor to the game. It's going to be exciting to see."
And even more exiting for Thomas, who is satisfied where he landed no matter the circumstances of the deal between the AFC North rivals.
"It's truly a blessing because I can't think of being in a better place," said Thomas, who has 29 tackles this season. "I have two veterans like Ryan Clark and Troy Polamalu teaching me everything I need to know to be successful in this league. And I have a Hall of Fame coach in Dick LeBeau. This is the best place for me."