Rookie defensive lineman Solomon Thomas had a solid NFL debut on Friday night in Kansas City against the Chiefs. His performance was so impressive, that he was Pro Football Focus' highest graded player of the game, which is impressive considering how much attention fellow rookie Reuben Foster was garnering.

Thomas earned the analytics site's game ball with his 88.2 grade and the Pro Football Focus team had the following to say about him:

"The rookie third overall pick started his NFL career with a bang as he recorded a hit and two hurries on 20 pass-rush snaps while also showing his stout run stopping ability notching two run stops on just seven run snaps. Thomas was able to consistently push the pocket whether rushing from the edge (9 snaps), over the tackle (8 snaps), or the interior (3 snaps)."

Thomas briefly exited Friday's game and had the 49ers medical staff examining his shoulder on the sideline. However, he was able to return to the game and was in on 28 snaps against Kansas City.

Pro Football Focus rated Thomas as the nation's best defender against the run in 2016. The 49ers defense ranked last in the NFL against the run last season – along with a number of other categories. The unit allowed a league-high 165.9 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses and set a franchise record in rushing yards allowed.

Solomon Thomas highlights | Preseason Week 1

As for Foster, the rookie linebacker was among the five highest graded players in the game and top three defensive players (behind Thomas and veteran edge rusher Aaron Lynch) with his 83.8 grade.

Pro Football Focus had the following to say about Foster:

"While veteran edge rusher Aaron Lynch had a bigger impact on fewer snaps recording two sacks and a batted pass, Foster's debut in the NFL was also excellent as he showed his coverage instincts in breaking up a would be touchdown on the opening drive of the game. Allowed a catch on the other pass he was targeted on but made an immediate tackle for just three yards. He fielded a game-high 86.8 coverage grade, topping all defenders at any position in the contest."

Foster was in on 27 snaps and the 49ers defense as a whole held the Chiefs to just 187 total yards of offense. The 49ers beat the Chiefs 27-17.

5 highest-graded 49ers vs. Chiefs


  • ED Solomon Thomas, 88.2 overall grade
  • WR Kendrick Bourne, 87.1 overall grade
  • ED Aaron Lynch, 84.7 overall grade
  • HB Matt Breida, 83.8 overall grade
  • LB Reuben Foster, 83.8 overall grade