STRENGTHS - Thomas is an excellent athlete for the safety position, as he possesses the top end speed to stay with NFL slot receivers in man coverage, as well as take hard angles to cut off outside runs at the LOS. In man coverage he flashes the ability to redirect his man by being physical at the POA, and he shows the fluidity needed to stay with his man out of the break. Thomas has experience on both coverage units, and is likely to offer production on special teams as a rookie.
WEAKNESSES - Thomas lacks the height and length to compete with TEs in man coverage, and struggles to free himself once blockers get on top of him in space. Despite his natural athleticism and top end speed, he does not display effective break and close ability from off or man coverage, and allows too many catches in front of him. In man coverage he tends to get sloppy and impatient with his pedal, causing him to lose ground in transition as well as struggle against double moves. While his speed allows him to play the run aggressively on the edge, he tends to get caught in traffic because of his hard lines, allowing runners to take the edge from him. He also struggles to finish tackles consistently because he is too aggressive at the POA and struggles to break down in space.
SUMMARY - Shamarko Thomas is an enticing day three option at safety because although his skills are unrefined and he lacks the height and length of an NFL starter, but he is an excellent athlete capable of playing effectively against both the run and pass out in space. He clearly possesses the speed, fluidity and aggressiveness to press the slot, as well as protect the edge against the run when he is able to avoid getting stuck in traffic. He is not as effective in man and zone coverage, as does not display the same instincts or the burst needed to consistently close in time from off the ball. His experience on special teams at Syracuse will help him make a game day roster as a rookie, but until he improves his backpedal as well as his tackling, he is unlikely to start at the next level.