Steeler Nation, Grade Your Draft Picks: Rounds 4 & 5

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Nov 10, 2012; Syracuse, NY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is knocked out of bounds by Syracuse Orange safety Shamarko Thomas (21) during the second half of a game at the Carrier Dome. Syracuse won the game 45-26. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our look at the 2013 draft selections for the Steelers.  In our grading last post, we asked you to grade the Steelers’ 1st through 3rd rounds.  Time to move on and deal with rounds 4-7.

4th Round, 111th Overall: Shamarko Thomas

Oct 5, 2012; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange safety Shamarko Thomas (21) reacts to a play during the first half of a game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at the carrier Dome. Syracuse won the game 14-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers really needed to address the safety position in the draft and did so when they moved up in the fourth round to select Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas.  Some other solid safeties went earlier, such as Kenny Vaccaro and D.J. Swearinger.  To be honest, I started to get a little worried after the third round as nine safeties were snatched.  But, there was one safety left that fit the ‘Steeler mold’ and still on the Steelers’ War Room board.  Our own Dom Di Tolla has this to say of Thomas:

Although Thomas’ frame is a bit small (5’9″ 213 lbs.), he is a vicious hitter who can cover large amounts of ground.  He can play “in-the-box” and hold his own against the run, and his 40.5″ vertical leap is definitely a plus.  A four-year starter with the Orange, Thomas racked up 85 tackles last season to go along with 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and 3.5 tackles for loss.  While some might compare Thomas to Troy Polamalu, I liken him more to Bob Sanders in the regard that he throws his body around and is always willing to mix things up against the run and the pass.  Of course, I hope that Thomas is able to stay healthier than Sanders did during his terrific, yet injury-riddled career….. [Thomas] is definitely a young and high-character guy who Pittsburgh’s locker room desperately needs at the moment.

Thomas has the intangibles, the maturity, and (also very important) the coaching in place to become one of the next great Steeler safeties.  I for one am excited to see this young man mature and grow into the roll.  Don’t be surprised to see him on this field early in the season.  Troy Polamalu or Ryan Clark (though I don’t want either to get injured) are bound to sit out parts of the season in 2013.  Thomas will be forced to quickly learn the system and make a positive impact on defense.  I think he’s up to the challenge.

What’s your grade for Thomas?

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