You may believe that it's not good to fall down at the end of your 40-yard dash, and I may believe that it's not good to fall down at the end of your 40-yard dash, but don't tell that to Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas. On his first of two 40 attempts from Lucas Oil Stadium at the scouting combine, Thomas -- who measures in at a very interesting 5-foot-9 and 213 pounds -- managed to rip off an unofficial 4.38 40-yard dash despite the fact that he did quite the faceplant at the end of his run. His official time of 4.42 was the fastest of all safeties.
The best part? On his second try, Thomas ran an unofficial 4.41 -- yes, three tenths of a second slower than the first unofficial time -- despite the fact that he managed to stay upright the whole time. Maybe he was running a bit too upright on that second one, afraid of falling down again. I have that problem all the time.
Thomas also maxed out among all the defensive backs with 28 reps at the 225-pound bench press. That's more than some elite linebackers (Kevin Minter) and pass rushers (Bjoern Werner, Ziggy Ansah) were able to do.
From a football perspective, Thomas has received some comparisons to Bob Sanders, who was a star safety for the Indianapolis Colts for a number of years, and the 2007 AP Defensive Player of the Year. Sanders was able to do his thing despite a height disadvantage for his position -- he stood 5-foot-8 and generally weighed in at about 200 pounds. Sanders was also a star at Iowa and was selected by the Colts in the second round of the 2004 NFL Draft. Thomas is the seventh-ranked strong safety on NFL Draft Scout's board, and projected as a sixth- or seventh-rounder. So, maybe comparing other short safeties to Bob Sanders is like comparing other short quarterbacks to Drew Brees.
Notwithstanding his NFL future though, Shamarko Thomas certainly gave it a good go at the combine ... whether he was hitting the ground or not.
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