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Steelers surprisingly bold in Round Four

shamarko thomas getty Getty Images

Clearly, the Steelers liked the talent still available to them in Round Four.

Trading up early in the round — with AFC North rival Cleveland no less — the Steelers acquired the No. 111 overall pick to take Syracuse safety Shamarko Thomas.

Here’s what made this transaction especially noteworthy: the Steelers dealt away their 2014 third-round selection to Cleveland in order to take the 5-foot-9, 213-pound Thomas, a speedy, physical understudy for Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark in the near term — and likely in the plans as a future starter, given what Pittsburgh gave up to get him.

Four picks later, the Steelers used their own fourth-round selection on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, a move that essentially completes a revamping of the depth chart behind starter Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers signed Bruce Gradkowski earlier in the offseason, and he could figure as the primary backup to Roethlisberger this season as Jones settles into the pro game as the third option.

Nevertheless, the Steelers have somewhat tipped their hand on Jones. Perhaps they could have packaged selection No. 115 to move up for Thomas. Instead, they kept the pick — and took a young passer to develop behind Roethlisberger.

Any way you look at it, Round Four featured quite the memorable sequence of events for the Steelers. There was the quirkiness of dealing with the Browns — the first time that’s happened since 1968, per Tony Grossi of ESPN Cleveland. And then there was the Steelers trading away a future pick for the first time since 1973, per Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest.

Then there is the sheer confidence the Steelers have shown in Thomas, who plays a position where the Steelers have to be planning for the future.

Finally, we have Jones, the former Oklahoma star. If he plays in Year One, the Steelers’ best-laid plans are probably in tatters. His development in practices and in the classroom will be key. So too will his preseason play. If he shows promise, a league that’s always looking for QB help will notice. In short, there can be multiple benefits to taking him in Round Four.

The Steelers shaking up Day Three of the draft? Who would have thought?

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25 Responses to “Steelers surprisingly bold in Round Four”
  1. stillers35 says: Apr 27, 2013 1:58 PM

    I love Shamarko Thomas. He’s explosive and a playmaker. I wanted him in the 3rd so I guess trading away a 3rd isn’t a big deal. With the way Balt and Cincy are killing it in this draft(Ravens just got John Simon who is just a tough football player) the Steelers had to be aggressive. Good move IMO

  2. 13arod says: Apr 27, 2013 2:00 PM

    the steelers are going all the way this year wrte this down

  3. hbdbrowns33 says: Apr 27, 2013 2:02 PM

    I like to think the conversation started liked this: Hey should we make our division rival better and drop completely out of the fourth round when we have only made two picks so far?

    Browns war room: Totes.

    If this comes back to hurt the Browns I will be furious. I really think Thomas is a good player and the Browns let the Steelers have him. Not happy.

  4. classyjacklambert says: Apr 27, 2013 2:04 PM

    Love it so far! Colbert is a genius!

  5. navyeoddavee9 says: Apr 27, 2013 2:05 PM

    Good move, basically giving our compensatory pick for Wallace next year

  6. stainlessstill says: Apr 27, 2013 2:07 PM

    Click, click—RELOAD. The Steelers filled immediate needs in their first 3 picks with Jones, Bell & Wheaten while getting an absolute STUD moving up to get Thomas, who will be one helluva ST development player and be the heir replacement for Clark once he hangs them up. Great pick in Jones in the 4th as well to build Ben’s backup stock with young, fresh talent who has a solid football IQ.

    The Steelers demise is HEAVILY exaggerated. Cheers!

  7. Stiller43 says: Apr 27, 2013 2:09 PM

    Never heard of the safety. Mayock loves him…better be worth a 3rd rounder

  8. j5ndhouse says: Apr 27, 2013 2:12 PM

    Since losing the super bowl and having a mediocre season by black and gold standards, I think they realize if they have any chance it getting back their with Big Ben at the helm – it needs to be soon. I really like what they have done in this draft and think they will be competing again at the top of the toughest division in football.

  9. remyje says: Apr 27, 2013 2:12 PM

    They traded away next year’s 3rd rounder because they’re going to get compensated for Michael Wallace

  10. icehammer8394 says: Apr 27, 2013 2:14 PM

    This is the weakest draft in recent memory for the steelers,reached for wheaton and jones.too many concerns on jarvis jones to be taken at 17

  11. dontcorrectmeplz says: Apr 27, 2013 2:21 PM

    Good moves by the Steelers. Taking a flyer on Landry this late and looking towards the future while these players develop is a good thing to do while the starters still have a few more good years in them.

  12. Mike Wilkening says: Apr 27, 2013 2:22 PM

    Interesting point by the commenters who have pointed out the Steelers may well get a high compensatory pick for Mike Wallace next year. Very interesting.

  13. steel2372 says: Apr 27, 2013 2:39 PM

    Great moves by the Steelers. Thomas was projected as a four round selection and Wheaton was projected as a first or second rounder. Wheaton has been compared to Wallace because of his 4.4 40 time. He is a playmaker. I do wish the Steelers could have picked up Simon though. He is a heck of a football player.

  14. thesteelers says: Apr 27, 2013 2:46 PM

    No one has more Super Bowls than God’s team, Steeler Nation, and no one will win more Super Bowls in the future.

    You must be soooooo jealous.

  15. thesteelers says: Apr 27, 2013 2:51 PM

    The Pittsburgh Steelers: God’s team

  16. morganstan100 says: Apr 27, 2013 3:03 PM

    Steelers are really going to miss that third round pick next year. Doesn’t this team ever learn? Lombardi and Belichick are going to have a big laugh at next year’s playoff. At least the Steelers will draft a lot earlier than 17. Probably in the top ten unless they bargain that away trying to unload all their deadwood.

  17. 4thqtrsaint says: Apr 27, 2013 3:49 PM

    Steelers are obviously willing to deal with Browns because of Haslam. This shouldn’t be a shocker.

  18. morganstan100 says: Apr 27, 2013 3:55 PM

    Nofool, I put a lot of thought into my comments. You just insult people who disagree with you. And you obviously DO care what I think because everything I say seems to throw you into hysterics. Poor boy. Have you tried meditation? Beats sitting in front of the TV watching the Steelers get bamboozled into trading away their future draft picks. Yikes.

  19. navyeoddavee9 says: Apr 27, 2013 4:01 PM

    icehammer8394: you should quit the job at Burger King, your insight is amazing, you should be a GM.

  20. thesportsguy52 says: Apr 27, 2013 4:09 PM

    Gotta strive to get over that Baltimore hump I suppose.

  21. morganstan100 says: Apr 27, 2013 6:23 PM

    Nofool, listen to yourself. You’re about to drown in your own bile. Take a chill pill. It’s only football. You’re been messing with Ravens’ fans forever and now that someone gives you a little of your own medicine, you can’t take it. I’m not the only one to point out how insulting you are. You’ve said some pretty nasty and inappropriate things to and about people who have merely chided you about your favorite NFL team. Let it go. Ommmmmm.

  22. steelcurtainn says: Apr 28, 2013 3:39 AM

    Genius pick…………….and we get that draft pick back after probably receiving compensatory pick next year….nice move…….steelers front office best in the business.

  23. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 28, 2013 11:43 AM

    Picking a quarterback in a draft in which the Steelers needed to find plenty of immediate help certainly surprised me. But I have to admit: The selection of Landry Jones also made me smile…
    Now we’ll see if Tomlin is smart enough not to worry about a “quarterback controversy” and play him when necessary.
    I have my doubts.

  24. morganstan100 says: Apr 28, 2013 12:09 PM

    If you hadn’t traded away that pick, you’d have likely had two picks in the same round which would have put the Steelers in control of that round without having to panic about missing out on one key player by picking the other. Look at what the Ravens did in rounds 4, 6, and 7. And now everyone is talking about what a fantastic draft they had. Sure, it’s nice to give it a positive spin, but a missed opportunity in an obvious rebuilding year can really haunt a team on the skids.

  25. st33l3r522 says: Apr 29, 2013 7:28 AM

    no morg, hes correct you and your boy instantly jump on anything steeler related, just to hate… our fans happen to be some of the most respectable in the game, and i myself am a huge fan of the game in general, we filled some serious needs and only the future will tell what anybody’s rookies will or will not accomplish.

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