NFL Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp Profile: Shamarko Thomas

Shamarko Thomas

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a real steal in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL draft when they were able to get safety Shamarko Thomas.

Thomas was projected by some to go as early as the second round, so him being taken in the fourth represented excellent value. You can read a full breakdown of him for more details about his potential.

But what is the role of Thomas in this training camp? The Steelers are thin at safety after letting multiple veteran backups go this offseason. The starters are in place with Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark, but beyond them, there is almost no experience at safety. This is a good thing for Thomas because while he is lacking experience, he has more talent than any of the other safeties playing behind the starters.

Personally, I’ve never been one to define the role of an NFL safety so narrowly to label one a free safety and one a strong safety. In fact, depth charts are silly. It’s all about sub packages and situational plays and formations.

For this initial training camp, Thomas should be able to start working into sub packages right away. He might not be listed as a starter on the depth chart but with his talent, the Steelers coaching staff need to focus on finding ways to get him on the field beyond the obvious of special teams, where he should have an impact right away.

The future at one safety spot is Thomas, that’s not really in question for me. The question for this training camp will be if he can assimilate to the defense quickly, stay healthy and help make the Steelers defense better right away.

Curt covers the NFL draft for Rant Sports. Connect with Curt on Twitter @nfldraftboard or on Google+.