Shamarko Thomas – Syracuse University
Age when drafted: 22
Hometown: Virginia Beach, VA
Collegiate Number: 21
Combine notables: 4.42 40, 1.50 10 split, 40.5” vertical, 11’1” broad jump
Games Viewed: 2012 – USC, Pitt, Rutgers 2011 – USC, West Virginia
Shamarko Thomas checked in at under 5-foot-9 at February’s Scouting Combine. He possesses solid musculature on his compact frame. At 213 pounds, he has plenty of bulk and his frame is completely maxed out. There will be concerns with Thomas’ size given his reckless style of play. Thomas has been compared to Bob Sanders, who was another undersized but physical safety. Sanders career was shortened due to injuries and NFL teams will carry similar concerns with Thomas.
He’s an explosive athlete with quick twitch muscle movements. Thomas ran low 4.4’s at the Combine and excelled in the explosion tests of the vertical jump and broad jump. On tape, you can see his explosiveness play out in his violent hits and closing speed. He’s a naturally strong athlete with excellent lower body strength.
Thomas showed the movement skills to line up over the slot in the NFL. Solid lateral agility with the catch up speed to make up for errors. Played some corner at Syracuse and it shows as he’s an above-average safety in man. He struggles with his aggressive style of play in coverage. Will bite on double moves and reading the action in the backfield. Lined up on Robert Woods three times against USC this season. Lunged and missed badly in press but the ball was going away. Got a flag despite solid coverage. Got beat on post route in off man but closed on the ball for an interception (poorly thrown ball). I don’t think teams drafting Thomas highly will be doing so for his coverage abilities but has the ability to be solid in NFL manning up tight ends and the slot.
Thomas is instinctive and comfortable in zone coverage. His hitting ability will make him a force with the ball in front of him. Excels reading the quarterbacks eyes and you see his starting experience with his ability to play the deep half and third. Solid reactionary skills and drives on the ball with aggression. Staying disciplined and patient in zone coverage at the next level will be a necessity if he goes to a heavy zone scheme.
Thomas is a violent hitter that is at his best when playing in the box. Thomas plays the run with reckless abandon which should be his calling card in the NFL. Thomas is a solid tackler when he wraps, rather than hits. His tackling prowess will make him a feared safety in the league but will have to avoid being overly aggressive, drawing penalties. He’s tough to block in the open field because of his short stature, quick feet, and slipperiness. Needs to work on disengage from blocks with hand usage. Takes poor pursuit angles at times and will look to make the punishing blow rather than securing the tackle. He is a highly effective blitzer off the edge that will be a coveted box safety in the draft.
None. Tough background that lost both parents in college and became provider for siblings.
Shamarko Thomas has started at Syracuse since his freshman season. He debated entering the 2012 NFL Draft but wisely opted to return for his senior season. Helped himself with a solid senior season and showing at the NFL Scouting Combine. He has drawn apt comparisons to Bob Sanders with his style of play and lack of size. At under 5-foot-9, Thomas is going to have to beat the odds to become an impactful safety at the next level. He’s an aggressive player with instincts and athleticism to be a factor immediately in the NFL. He should overcome his size limitations as his tape backs up solid collegiate numbers. Thomas should come off the board on day two of the draft and could work his way into the second round.