Aug 10, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Shamarko Thomas (29) gestures on the field before playing the New York Giants at Heinz Field. The New York Giants won 18-13. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Morning Huddle 7/11/2014

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Steelers season goes all year long so whether we’re previewing training camp, predicting roster moves, or looking around for mentions of your Black & Gold we’ve got you covered. Here’s what’s being said about your Pittsburgh Steelers around the block.

Get to know Shamarko Thomas

Mike Prisuta’s latest installment of a series for fans to familiarize themselves with the Steelers first or second year players features second year safety Shamarko Thomas. Thomas was drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Syracuse. He cites Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark as his favorite teammates and also his mentors. His perception of the Steelers as an organization is similar to how most of us view the team.

“Family and winning. It shows in the way the whole team puts in work and how they’re dedicated to the game.” – Shamarko Thomas

Young defenders key to Steelers success

ESPN’s Scott Brown has decided that the key for the Steelers to be successful over the next few years lies within the youngest members of the defense. While we’ve been stuck for a long time on names like Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu it’s really Jarvis Jones, Shamarko Thomas, Ryan Shazier, and Stephon Tuitt who are hoped to be taking this Steelers defense to the level we are all most accustomed to. Along with that, the Steelers would love nothing more than if their 2014 fifth-round draft pick, Shaquille Richardson, becomes a late-round catch because the secondary needs to be developing right along with the rest of the defense with youth and speed.

Bell making the leap

Around the League’s Dan Hanzus has been ranking the top 25 NFL players he sees “Making the Leap” in 2014. He places Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell at No. 4. His reasoning is simple, while the Steelers had a statistically disappointing year rushing the football in 2013, Bell certainly proved after missing the first three weeks with an injured foot that he can be a key part of the offensive game plan. His versatility will allow the Steelers to get him the ball in a variety of ways and even the addition of LeGarrette Blount doesn’t figure to diminish what Bell’s role will be in the offense for 2014. Hanzus projects Bell’s 2014 stats will read: 1,300 rushing yards, 70 receptions and 12 total touchdowns.

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Tags: Jarvis Jones Le'Veon Bell Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Shazier Shamarko Thomas Shaquille Richardson Stephon Tuitt