Ike Taylor Says League Should Expect A ‘Headache’ Next Season

Prior to him suffering an ankle injury in the Week 10 game against the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety Shamarko Thomas had played 193 snaps on defense. Since returning from that injury, however, the Syracuse product hasn’t played a snap on defense, but veteran cornerback Ike Taylor has seen enough him to think he’ll be a major contributor on defense in 2014.

“By the time the end of next season comes, I’m going to say I told you so,” Taylor said, according to Branson Wright of The Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Once Shamarko gets an opportunity to start, ya’ll going to see why we call him ‘Headache’ as a nickname. He’s a young explosive guy that can run and hit.

“If you’re going to have a knock on him, you may talk about his size. Everybody talked about Earl Thomas’ size, but those guys in Seattle have been balling. So a football player is a football player, and that’s Shamarko.”

The Steelers were able to draft Thomas thanks to them making a draft day trade back in April with the Cleveland Browns, whom the Steelers will close out their regular season against on Sunday. It cost the Steelers their 2014 third-round pick to move up to get him, but because they expect to receive a 2014 third-round compensatory pick for the loss of wide receiver Mike Wallace during the offseason free agent signing period, they were willing to make the deal with the Browns.

Next season, Thomas will more than likely be a starter right out of the chute as it’s unlikely that free safety Ryan Clark will be re-signed during the offseason. There’s also a chance that strong safety Troy Polamalu might not be back as well if the team is unable to lower his 2014 cap hit by means of salary reduction.

“He’s going to be the future,” said veteran safety Will Allen, whose return to Steelers in the middle of season has cost Thomas playing time. “Everyone’s happy about his potential and what he can do. He’s explosive. He can hit. He’s going to bring that intimidating factor to the game. It’s going to be exciting to see.”

Thomas is unlikely to see playing time on defense against the Browns on Sunday as he’s again expected to be relegated to only playing on special teams. However, this will likely be the last Steelers-Browns game for some time that Thomas doesn’t play a big role in.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • dgh57

    That’s what I was expecting this year or at least dish out a headache or two until along came a injury and Will Allen. I was happy with the selection of him starting with the fact we needed to draft a Safety to begin with(and still need one this draft), but wish we didn’t have to give up a draft pick to do it. I like the nickname “headache” as he will prove to all(opposing teams) there’s a reason behind it.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    I’m glad to c that Thomas can hit very well but he needs to b careful how he hits with the new rules In the NFL allows offenses to be more free and he’ll get with these stupid rules

  • steeltown

    They should rotate him in for this game, especially considering he’ll be starting by next year.

  • MDPensFan

    Better be careful, the NFL might fine him for giving an opposing player a headache.

  • srdan

    Wow, that was a nice article to wake up to! Better than coffee!!!

    It’s interesting how many starters we got out of this draft. It has re energized the team.

    I’m excited to have some clean nastyness back on defense with Vince, Cam and teh headache. It’s an element that has been missing.

  • steeltown

    That’s true, we have young tough aggressive play at every level of the Defense again, DL, LB and DB… we just need a couple more pieces

  • Callentown

    Again, I would strongly prefer that these rookies: Sharko, Wheaton and Jones get as much playing time as possible. Why is Sharko sitting when he will be the man next year?

  • srdan

    I don’t knwo that i was expecting him to do much coming into theyear. I expected a lot more out of Clark. But by game 4 I saw that Clark had checked out physically and was expecting Shark to unseat him. Didn’t happen for a couple reasons.

    There is a huge differene between rookie camp and second year camp. Rookie camp these guys are learning how to manage money, relationships and a real job besides learning the system. Second year they know a lot of the off field stuff, and get to concentrate on the system and their craft. This is the same arguement I have had for Mike Adams.

  • DrakePirate

    Best draft in a while … i think we got at least 4 solid starters and a couple more contributors, if we can get that type of productivity out of the next couple drafts we will be more than fine !!!

  • dgh57

    If we could somehow find a FA or two along the lines of a Farrior and Clark would be nice too!

  • srdan

    I remember being upset when Chris Hope left and we got Clark. Man was I wrong.

  • srdan

    That and prtoect himself with the hits. We almost lost 43 due to his recklessness a couple years ago with concussions. I don’t want to go down that road again.

  • DrakePirate

    YESSSS … i think that is a key point, we have to be a little more aggressive and pick up 1 or 2 key players in FA … i hope they realise this … i think we lucked out with Cody Wallace for depth on the OL … and with any luck Ebernaste will be somewhat of a gem as well .. which would go a long way in completing our Line, would love to pick up a top OG in the draft and I think beachum has shown enough to give him a shot at LT next year, if doesn’t pan out he’s a great swing guy and can draft a LT the following year !

  • srdan

    They should get him a couple extra games this year, hahaha. You dig?

  • srdan

    I agree with both of you, but the issue is there is no money. Clark and Farrior were starters that the steelers signed away from their teams. That takes money, which we have none to be thrownig around.

    To get such contribution from a veteran would be in line with a Keon Wilson producing. Basically a vet signed off the street; not from another team. And usually there is a reason a vet is not signed.

    But I am hopeful as well!

  • dgh57

    We’ll be freeing up some money when Levi Brown and Clark are released among a few others. I just think with how the season has gone changes are coming.

  • Rick M

    I apologize for saying this, but what do you expect a teammate to say? If Shamarko Thomas was truly showing the potential Taylor is talking about, he’d be on the field. He’s healthy again, he took some defensive snaps earlier this season and yet he’s sitting on the bench now other than Special Teams play. That suggests he didn’t make a great impression when he was out there. As for the comparison to Earl Thomas, he played every game in his rookie season and had 76 tackles and assists.

    I wish Shamarko well and hope he becomes a very good player. But the fact that Ike Taylor says he’ll be good in the future doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of whether he is, or will be, a good draft choice.

  • Don2727

    Wow. a Steeler team without Troy..That’s crazy to think about.

  • Rick M

    Respectfully Drake, how do you feel we got at least 4 solid starters in the past draft?

    Le’veon Bell has been a superb draft choice in my mind. That’s one, but that’s all. Vince Williams deserves a ton of credit as a 6th round draft choice for filling in part-time for Foote, but as others have pointed out he’s a liability in pass coverage and Troy has been forced into a part-time LB role. Jarvis Jones has played a lot of snaps out of necessity, but has produced little and has not been the “difference maker” promised by Colbert. Wheaton, when healthy, has been a disappointment.

    I just don’t see a guaranteed four solid starters out of the 2013 draft. I know this sounds negative, but we’re about to have back-to-back 8-8 seasons with one of the better QBs in the league. Maybe a year or two down the road we can say the 2013 draft was a really good one, but personally i don’t feel we’re anywhere near saying that right now. I respect that you disagree with me.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see us carry only 4 safeties next year. If that is the case, we might already have all 4….Troy, W. Allen, Shamarko, and Golden.

  • Ahmad

    Hopefully the Steelers can blow out the Browns early so the younger guys like Thomas can get some mop up snaps in the 4th quarter.

  • Don2727

    Will Allen drove me crazy when they brought him in, but what a difference this year..He was the one that really got the turnovers started for this defense.

  • DrakePirate

    Rick,

    I was actually reading into the next couple years, not from the productivity this year

    1. JJ – while the question remains if he will be a star or not I think he will be solid at least to start

    2. Bell – Star in the making

    3. Wheaton- While i agree with u I’m disappointed in his production due to unfortunate circumstances … I’ve already seen enough to gather that he will be good and better than Sanders

    4. Shamarko – I see definite starter starting next year

    contributors

    1. V. Williams – Hopefully he will continue to improve and be a contributor at a minimum

    2. Ebernaste- Im reaching here, but hoping he develops into some depth as a back up OL ….

    Thats my thought process on my answer … I’m not going by results this year, but by what i am forecasting from what i have seen (minus – Ebernaste)

  • DrakePirate

    Rick,

    I was actually reading into the next couple years, not from the productivity this year

    1. JJ – while the question remains if he will be a star or not I think he will be solid at least to start

    2. Bell – Star in the making

    3. Wheaton- While i agree with u I’m disappointed in his production due to unfortunate circumstances … I’ve already seen enough to gather that he will be good and better than Sanders

    4. Shamarko – I see definite starter starting next year

    contributors

    1. V. Williams – Hopefully he will continue to improve and be a contributor at a minimum

    2. Ebernaste- Im reaching here, but hoping he develops into some depth as a back up OL ….

    Thats my thought process on my answer … I’m not going by results this year, but by what i am forecasting from what i have seen (minus – Ebernaste)

  • Donald Garey

    I agree that this isn’t an impressive draft class and that includes Bell. His yards per carry average is minima at best for a starter. And as a blocker he has a lot to learn. Wheaton, Thomas, Jarvis- did they contribute anything? Explain it to me cause I just don’t see it.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    He played as a starter earlier this season then was only on special teams with Clark most likely fine he’ll be a starter

  • Elijah Stevenson

    By the way he hits the NFL might fine him over 10 times

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Hire about on the offensive side, people say that landry jones can throw that ball quick so be might b our next future QB.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    The thing about Will for me at this point is he knows the defense which can add some stability.

  • Elijah Stevenson

    Shamarko is the future SS in the next couple of years I dummy c Will Allen staying back next season with signs showing that he is slowing down, Clark may not be here next year either but it’s important for Thomas to listen to both troy and Clark

  • T R

    don’t count on it.. who hell has the steelers blown out this year or any year for a while.. especially not Cleveland.. Cleveland although we beat them most times… still is a thorn in our sides…

  • Don2727

    Yep..I like where he is at and what he’s doing..

  • sean mcmartin

    I disagree, I think L. Bell is a great runner. Redman and mendenhall would get hit and dropped for 2 yard gain. bell is able to see a hole and he gets yards after the first contact..You also need to keep in mind the O-line is not that good and he still gets yards..

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Good to hear

  • mike burnside

    I like Thomas. Just hope he’s able to truly pick of the defense and be where he needs to be on the field. I have no doubt about his ability to make plays. But u have to be in the right place to make those plays. As far as what u guys r saying about free agents, they key to that is price. We don’t have a lot of money to spend, like almost none! Unless they are guys like Velasco and Wallace who were dirt cheap, we just can’t afford to bring in any big name FA.

  • DrakePirate

    I think they will be able to squirrel away some money if they make the right moves … there are going to be several cuts/pay-cuts down the road which should be more than enough to sign a decent FA or 2 !!!!!

  • Arthur Branch

    Yea Bell sucks. He is just 70 yards away from besting Franco Harris’s rookie season record. With fans like you I see why the stands are empty on Sunday’s this year.

  • Arthur Branch

    He had ankle injury he may not be 100%. Special teams does not take the back pedaling and cutting that playing DB does.