Solomon Thomas, EDGE
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-3 / 273 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 1st Round Top Ten?
NFL Comparison: Michael Bennett
Solomon Thomas is the best 4-3 end prospect in the draft. The talented junior is drawing many comparisons to pro bowl defensive linemen past and present like J.J. Watt, Michael Bennett, and Justin Smith. Thomas’ strengths lie in his relentless and wild dog play and attitude. He is technically sound already displaying a variety of pass rush moves including a nice swim and rip. Combine that with his exceptional athleticism, quickness, power, and strength for his size and it’s one of the reasons Thomas was one of the best defensive linemen in the nation this year.
- Bonafide pass rusher. He has all the physical tools to make an impact in the NFL.
- Exposes lineman with his quickness, strength, and technique. He can quickly go in between, around, or through offensive linemen to get into the backfield.
- Some of the best fluidity, coordination, and ability to shed a block that I have seen though at times inconsistent.
- Versatile he has rushed and has had success as a 7 tech, 5 tech, 3tech, and 0 tech while at Stanford.
- The elephant in the room: Thomas’ size. Some consider him a tweener and think he can only play as a DE in a 4-3. Others think he can maximize his versatility and play as a 3-4 DE and move inside on obvious passing downs.
- At times plays with inconsistent pad level it makes him lose power, balance, and leverage.
- Can get taken out of plays if he doesn't win with his initial power and quickness.
Let’s see his work:
I've watched 6 games of Solomon Thomas, and he def gets bodied at times, but he's playing 3T and nose at 273 pounds. Not happening in NFL.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) February 2, 2017
Bengals gonna take Solomon Thomas or Taco Charlton at nine, calling it right now. I'm down with either guy.— Connor Howe (@socalfootball) January 31, 2017
Could see new 49ers GM John Lynch taking a long look at Stanford DE / OLB Solomon Thomas, an athletic high-motor pass rusher, at #2 overall.— Scott Wright (@DraftCountdown) January 30, 2017
Solomon Thomas did play NT & DT well at only 280 pounds but he's a base DE & sub-package DT in the NFL. Michael Bennett-type versatility.— Jordan Plocher (@PFF_Jordan) February 3, 2017
Solomon Thomas has Watt-like tendencies. https://t.co/GCFysmdHlO— Chad Reuter (@chad_reuter) January 27, 2017
What makes Jonathan Allen a better prospect than Solomon Thomas? Because they keep getting closer and closer in my rankings.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 27, 2017
Top 10 talent? Stanford coach David Shaw has high praise for DL Solomon Thomas as he heads to the draft pic.twitter.com/MeqsEGRLqa— Bleacher Report NFL (@BR_NFL) January 26, 2017
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
Before the Redskins had selected Greg Manusky as their new defensive coordinator I was holding out hope that the Skins would look in the direction of Pettine or Bradley both coaches who have used the 4-3 as their base defense. I think Solomon Thomas is a natural 4-3 defensive end and I figure that defensive line needy teams who run a 4-3 share that sentiment. While I’m in the camp that believes he can play in any scheme given some adjustments to personnel and packages I do have slight reservations about how his potential will be maximized here. There are so many ways a player with Thomas’ skill set can be used in either scheme but there will plenty of debate going forward on the best way.
Personally, I’m a fan of Thomas gaining 7 lbs and playing as a true 5 tech in a base 3-4 defense and moving him inside or even out as a 7 tech on obvious passing downs if he were drafted by the Redskins. Thomas’ stock has skyrocketed over the past few months, so much so that I see more and more pundits thinking he could be a top 10 pick. Thomas is worth the pick at 17 the question is will he last that long?