Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE
With the regular season complete, it's time for NFL Scouts to start honing in on collegiate players ready for the next level. Once again, there are a handful of Syracuse players who have been on draft radars all year and climbing or falling down the charts. Before the postseason bowl, we'll take a look at where these guys stand right now and keep track of them until the big day in April. Next up... Safety Shamarko Thomas
Player: Safety Shamarko Thomas
Vitals: 5-10, 208lbs
Regular Season Stats: 84 tackles, 60 solo, 1 sack, 2 INT
Strengths: Pure strength that stems from tremendous work habits. Definition of big hit safety.
Weaknesses: Not the greatest in man to man, will never be an INT type guy.
Big Moment: Against Pitt racked up 9 total tackles, left the game after leveling player over the middle.
What the TNIAAM Crew Says:
Chris Daughtrey: When #SHAMARKO announced he was returning to Syracuse for his senior season, he said that he felt like there were things he hadn't accomplished. Now that's he's knocked the socks off of another season's worth of opponents, he's ready for the big time. Awhile back, someone made a comparison between Thomas and Bob Sanders. I think it's spot on, right down to the dreds. Thomas isn't a ball hawking safety like Ed Reed or Troy Polamalu. He's not going to get you a ton of interceptions. But he's going to physically imprint himself in the minds of opposing receivers through repeated violent blows, just like Sanders. And, like Sanders, he's less likely to get burned because he's playing the man for the big hit rather than playing the ball for the pick. As usual, combine and workout numbers will have a big say exactly when Shamarko is taken. But I think its safe to say that there's a spot for him in the 3rd or 4th round.
Matt McClusky: I would be surprised to hear his name called, but you never know. Thomas is a hard-nosed defender with an ability to deliver some big hits. Still, I'd bank on a free agent offer over a draft pick
Sean Keeley: If Phil Thomas can make it in the NFL, Shamarko certainly can. Shamarko did the smart thing and returned for his senior season and its going to pay off come draft time. I can absolutely see him putting up monster numbers at the combine and suddenly becoming a very trendy 2nd round/3rd round pick. The workout warrior will stand out big-time.
Andrew Pregler: Whatever projections I give right now about Shamarko are completely irrelevant because his entire stock will change after the combine. It's well noted how insane his workouts are and just how immensely gifted he is when it comes to brute physicality. You can't forget all of the hardship he's been through in his life and just the kind of character guy he is. While no one is looking at him now, I think after the combine he lands on guys radars for a day three pickup. The Steelers need some depth at safety and I know they would love a guy of Shamarko's character and mindset to learn under Ryan Clark, another hard hitting UDFA type guy who in his 11th year has evolved into one of the best safeties in the NFL right now.