Shamarko Thomas   S   Syracuse

TALENT BOARD ROUND  3

 

STRENGTHS

Shamarko is like a heat seeking missile when he is on the field. He shows excellent instincts and plays bigger than his size.  He has the ability to play in a two-deep zone safety system because he is so quick to analyze and come up to the line of scrimmage to support the running game inside or outside the hash marks.  He does a solid job in coverage as long as he keeps his cushion and uses the correct techniques. Shamarko has an excellent burst to the ball and tackles most of the time with very good techniques.  He is a sure tackler which is important when playing the safety position.  He shows on film to possess excellent quickness.  When used up on the line of scrimmage, he does a terrific job stringing plays out and using his small stature to his advantage to shed, slide and slip inside blocks to make tackles.  Shamarko is the type of player that coaches appreciate more after he leaves a team than they did when he is playing and on the team.  He shows the leadership skills and intangibles to become a core player and a fan favorite for the team that drafts him.

 

CONCERNS

Shamarko is vertically challenged, which may discourage some teams from drafting him in the first three rounds.  He is also limited in coverage skills because of his size and change of direction ability.  He has to play more within himself because when he comes too hard and fast up to the line of scrimmage, he misses tackles.  He has to make tackles and play with perfect technique or he will get beat and he cannot let himself get beat deep.  He will struggle in coverage in the red zone and most teams will look at Shamarko with the thought that he is a special teams player and not a starting player.  He is the type of player coaches will always look to upgrade no matter how good he plays. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

Shamarko plays like former Colts safety Bob Sanders, but I suspect his career will mirror Jim Leonard (former Bills, Ravens, Jets, Broncos and Saints safety). Shamarko is better than both of those players in single coverage around the line of scrimmage.  In a 10-20 yard radius, Shamarko has better change of direction skills and can be used up on the line of scrimmage.  He has more bulk and is stronger than these guys, but that will not matter in the red zone which will be the biggest problem for Shamarko to overcome.  He needs to prove that he wonít be taken advantage of by opponents.  Nevertheless, Shamarko is a hell of a football player and will help a team on special teams.  If he gets on the field as a starting safety in a two deep zone system, he just might impact a lot more than most coaches would expect.  When Bob Sanders was on the field, the Colts had an excellent defense.  Every time Jim Leonard is cut by a team, that defense plays worse.  At some point somebody (besides me) is going to realize that players like Shamarko Thomas, Bob Sanders and Jim Leonard are hard to replace because of the hidden intangibles and overlooked talent they bring in a small package to a team.  Thatís why I believe these players are appreciated more after they leave a team than when they are on the team.  Seriously, how could you not want to draft a heat seeking missile?

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Apr/2013