Position: Edge defender
Weight: 273 pounds
School: Stanford Cardinal
Solomon Thomas 2017 NFL Draft Profile
This draft has already been established as one that is heavy in the secondary. Cornerbacks and safties are very deep. Not much love is being made out to lineman, especially defensive ends. Outside of Jonathan Allen, the only other guy who should make big headlines for being taken early in the draft as a defensive end is Stanford’s Solomon Thomas. Thomas is a junior who is coming off a very good college career and has huge upside. The 273-pound lineman was a four-star recruit by 247Sports and ESPN and was the nation’s fourth-best ranked defensive end by the same sites. As a senior in high school, he racked up 78 tackles (26 for loss) and 12.5 sacks. He was heavily recruited by Arkansas and UCLA, but ultimately chose Stanford.
He redshirted his freshman campaign. During his sophomore year, he was named a Pac-12 honorable mention after a season where he recorded 39 tackles, 10.5 for loss and 3.5 sacks. His best games came at the end of the season. In the Pac-12 Championship against USC, he had three solo tackles, one sack and a 34-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Then in the Rose Bowl against Iowa, he had four tackles, two for loss and a sack. Just this last year as a junior, he improved his game and got even better. He had a team high 62 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, eight sacks and two fumble recoveries. He was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pac-12 first team. In the Sun Bowl against North Carolina, he opened eyes and shined on a brighter stage. He had seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack and was named Sun Bowl Most Valuable Player.
One of the biggest attributes to Thomas’ game is his quickness off the line. He has a natural ability to get down the field quickly and beat offensive lineman and blockers with ease. He has skilled hands and can get out of blocks easily with his hands and body movement. Timing the snap and quarterback reads are a big positive he possessed heading into the draft. He also has a good off the field record, showing good work ethic, desire to get better and standout character. Thomas comes from an athletic family.
The only things to consider when looking at Thomas are where he fits on the field. He comes in a 273, somewhat big for an end but small for a tackle. He needs to add strength as well, strength to push lineman off blocks without using finesse or body moves.
- Great speed and quickness off the line.
- Effective hands.
- Versatile; can play multiple positions including end, tackle and outside linebacker.
- Comes from an athletic family.
- Exceptional work ethic and attitude.
- Good locker room presence and leader.
- Ability to make backfield tackles on difficult plays.
- Needs to put on more strength.
- Must work on using hand strength to shed blocks.
- Position is still undecided.
- Timing snaps can lead to preventable penalties.
- Could be combine dependent.
Teams with Defensive End Needs: Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears
Projection: Early to mid-first round
Solomon Thomas has the potential to be one of, if not the best defender to come out of this draft. He has natural, unteachable intangibles in work ethic and character that NFL teams find extremely appealing. If he can add some strength and a little weight, his hand skills should only get better. There is a little bit of question as to where he could land. Some scouts and NFL personnel have labeled him second round talent, but most think he has the potential to be high first round stuff. Myles Garrett has the most potential in defensive ends this draft, but Garrett has had some attitude and work ethic problems in the past. Thomas brings a 100 percent, all day, 24/7 mentality that should rub off well with no matter who he is paired with.