Steelers sign their first draft pick of 2013 class

5/17/13 in NFL   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

FanIQ | Sports Rumors, Gossip, Blogs, News & Discussion ForumsThe Pittsburgh Steelers joined the list of teams who have gotten at least one draft pick under contract at this point in the offseason. The Steelers have signed fourth-round pick Shamarko Thomas to his four-year rookie contract, the team announced on Thursday. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the team.
Thomas was the first of the Steelers’ nine-draft picks to sign with the team. The Steelers had been expected to wait until June 1 to get any of their draft picks under contract once they were awarded the impeding cap space following Willie Colon's release.
The Steelers selected the rookie safety with the 111th overall pick in the draft. They traded a third-round pick in the 2014 draft to the Cleveland Browns so as to move up to the fourth-round and take Thomas. He was the first of the Steelers’ two fourth-round picks.
The 22-year-old Thomas is expected to be the Steelers primary backup behind starting safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark in his rookie season. Thomas’ size has been of concern to other teams and partly contributed to him dropping in the draft to the fourth-round. However, Clark believed that the Steelers got a steal on the former Syracuse safety.
Thomas appeared in 48 games with 39 starts at Syracuse, compiling 263 tackles and 16.5 tackles for a loss, four sacks and four fumbles for the Orange. Last season, Thomas started 13 games, registering a career-high 88 tackles, one sack and two interceptions on his way to being named a consensus All-Big East first-team selection. Thomas was also a second-team All-Big East selection in 2011 and earned second-team All-Big East selection in 2011 during 2009.
With Thomas in the fold, the Steelers have eight draft picks that remain unsigned including - linebackers Jarvis Jones (first-round) and Vince Williams (sixth-round), running back Le’Veon Bell (second-round), wide receivers Markus Wheaton (third-round) as well as Justin Brown (sixth-round), quarterback Landry Jones (fourth-round), cornerback Terry Hawthorne (fifth-round)  and defensive end Nicholas Williams (seventh-round).
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