NFL Draft 2017: Scouting report for 49ers DE Solomon Thomas

Solomon Thomas is a freakish talent who very well might become the best defensive lineman selected in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Thomas at the NFL Combine ran a 4.69 40-yard dash at 6-3, 273 pounds. In just two full seasons at Stanford, the defensive end produced 63 solo tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. Here is Thomas’ 2017 NFL Draft scouting report, provided by Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide.

It’s crazy to think a player with just two years of college football experience is considered one of the more polished players in an NFL Draft class, but here we are.

Thomas, a redshirt sophomore with just 27 games under his belt, is an attractive chess piece for any defensive line, a dominant presence who can explode off the snap in any alignment.

After Thomas introduced his electric style of play to the Pac-12 as a freshman, he thrived in Year 2 and received All-Pac-12 honors, plus recognition as an AP third-team All-American.

Thomas ended his Stanford career on a high note and dominated one-on-one matchups during a Sun Bowl win over North Carolina, including the game-winning sack.

Thomas’ quickness, accompanied by power and finesse, make him a top-five talent in the draft. He has the traits necessary to become an All-Pro-level player within just a couple seasons in the NFL.

The biggest question mark surrounding the 6-3, 273-pound tweener is exactly that: Which position will he play in the NFL? He shows traits to be effective as a pass rusher from both positions but isn’t a typical run-stuffing defensive tackle. Thomas could (and perhaps should) put on extra weight to gain more force at the point of attack in the run game.

This NFL Draft scouting report is included in Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide, which is available for purchase here. The draft guide includes 300-plus scouting reports as well as position-specific analytics for prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.nike_chargers_1079

The NFL draft is the ultimate IQ test for teams

The NFL affords losing franchises the opportunity to rebound quickly, thanks to free agency, the machinations of schedule-making, and most of all, the NFL draft. No fan base should have to suffer for more than a season or two; it’s the league’s most endearing quality.

The only catch is that a team has to be smart enough not to screw up the draft, which is harder than it should be.

If there’s clearly a position that’s down this year, it’s offensive tackle. The top player at the position is Ryan Ramczyk of Wisconsin, but he rates as just the 18th-best player overall.

The draft class as a whole, however, is a good one because of its depth. For me, the first 16 players ranked are the top tier. After that, the talent is interchangeable. Smart teams should be able to find good starters into the third day of the draft this year.

With all of that said, here are the 100 best players in the 2017 NFL draft.

Swearinger spent two seasons with the Texans, and actually didn’t play poorly. He had over 70 tackles each season, and he added 10 pass deflections, a sack and three interceptions over those two years. But his attitude left a lot to be desired, and after Swearinger refused to play special teams because he thought his second-round draft status justified skipping it, the team cut him loose.

“Hooker is the closest thing to Reed I’ve seen since I’ve been scouting.” – NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah

“Range is the biggest comparison. And when he has the ball in his hands. Remember when Ed got the ball? Whoo. If he didn’t score, you were disappointed. Same thing with this kid.” – Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who also coached Reed at the University of Miami

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