Shamarko Thomas SS Syracuse #21
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Size/Athleticism: Thomas is much shorter than the average NFL safety, which will hurt him in certain situations. However, don’t question his toughness. He is extremely physical, especially considering his size. His blend of speed and strength gives him the tools to help make up for his lack of height.
Coverage: Has the quickness and speed of a cornerback. His footwork is inconsistent in man coverage, but he makes up for mistakes with his speed. If he could limit his false steps, he could legitimately be viewed as a potential cornerback prospect. Demonstrated his skills in man coverage by lining up one-on-one against Robert Woods multiple times as a senior against USC.
Ball skills: Height limits his ability to fight for jump balls, but his leaping ability makes up for it to an extent.
Run support: Does not back down from mixing it up at the line of scrimmage. He’ll dive right into the linemen and try to use his lack of size to his advantage to slip through unnoticed. Willing to take on much bigger ball carriers head-on, and capable of delivering some big hits. His lack of size actually works to his advantage in certain situations, because he can launch himself at the ball carrier and deliver all of his force on a small area, increasing the likelihood of jarring the ball loose. Athleticism makes him extremely valuable in the open field. He can match many receivers and running backs in quickness and doesn’t get juked often. Even without support, he can make an open field tackle.
Intangibles: Elite leadership skills and work ethic. You’ll be hard pressed to find a player who pushes himself hard off the field than Thomas.
Durability: Missed 2 games with an undisclosed injury as a junior.
Comments: Thomas’ lack of size definitely causes doubters to question his ability to excel at the next level. And while I’m not certain how he’ll make the most impact at the next level, I guarantee he will find a way to make himself valuable. He’s an impressive player on and off the field and he will do whatever it takes to carve out a role for himself in the NFL.