Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


Solomon Thomas conference call with media

Apr 27, 2017 at 7:34 PM--



Congratulations.

"Thank you so much. It's such an honor."

Some of us were at your pro day and there were a lot of 49ers there that day. Did they bring you in additionally to their headquarters and did you meet with any of the coaches then?

"No, so I actually did not. I did not have that much communication with the 49ers throughout the whole process. I talked with the defensive line coach at the combine and learned about the system, talked with him there, got a good feel for him, probably gave him a feel for myself. And then after that it was just up in the air. Just saw them at pro day, talked to them there and then just waited to hear. It was a great surprise. It was the surprise of my life. It was a dream come true."

You obviously, well maybe you don't, but do you look at the mock drafts and did you see yourself repeatedly going to the 49ers and what did you think when you kept seeing that?

"You definitely do see that stuff. It's not like I didn't see it because I'm on twitter, I'm on Instagram. So, I saw that stuff. I saw myself going to the 49ers. In my head I was like, 'I love that, but I can't ride the rollercoaster. I can't believe this kind of stuff because I'm going to get my heart broken and it's going to be a bad experience at the draft.' So, I kept my mind open and came in blind here and tried to come in here and be happy for any team that drafted me, but the best team for me drafted me and the best team I wanted drafted me. So, I'm so excited."



What'd you think when they dropped down to number three, when they made that trade?

"I was kind of curious what was going on. I was kind of excited to see what was going to happen and I was the one who was blessed to get that phone call and it was a dream come true."

Why are the 49ers the team you wanted to end up with?

"It's a team in the area. It's a very close team. I love the area of San Francisco. I love the Bay Area. I love [49ers general manager] John Lynch. I love the way he played. I love the way he's going to bring that mentality to his team. [49ers head] coach [Kyle] Shanahan seems like an amazing man and an amazing coach, what he did at the Falcons. He's a coach's kid and I know how amazing he's going to lead this team. The players on this team are amazing. From [LB] NaVorro Bowman and that defense. The players on offense. I've been watching this team very closely ever since I went to college in the Bay Area because everybody loves the 49ers and I'm so happy to be on the team and it's a dream come true."

What do you remember from taking that class with John Lynch a couple years ago?

"I remember I was star stuck the first day of class. He introduced himself as John Lynch. I was like, 'What? John Lynch is in our class?' So, I tried to cling on to him and learn from him. Very mature man, he worked very diligently. It was a really, really cool experience to be in class with him."

How much did you keep in touch with him after that class was over?

"Not too much. Just a little bit. Called him a couple times just to have advice when I was struggling playing or this new season and just trying to take it to the next level and just try to learn from him. He definitely helped me a lot throughout my career and to play for him is an even bigger honor. I can't wait to do it."

Can you give us an example of a piece of advice or some way he helped you along the way?

"During the pre-draft process before we played North Carolina, he told me, 'Don't worry about the external stuff going on. Worry about yourself and your team. The best thing you can do is go have the best bowl game possible and just go show them you're unstoppable and unblockable.' I took that advice seriously and I went to go do it."

When he got the general manager job, did you start to think that maybe you guys could be reconnected?

"I thought it was definitely a possibility. People really hadn't watched my film yet. So, I really didn't know if I was going to be able to go that high. But, I was able to and John picked me and we got reunited. I can't wait to play for this amazing team."

Does it mean something to you that you're the first draft pick John ever made?

"Definitely, definitely and I want to make sure that I make it the best draft pick he's had. I want to make sure that I make him proud, make the team proud and make the community proud."

You said you've watched this team since you were a local guy. Obviously, they had the worst defense in their history last year. What did you see? How much would you watch their games in detail?

"It's not like I watched every game, but when I could I tried to put them on TV. I watched [DL] Arik Armstead and [DL] DeForest Buckner in college. So, I tried to see them a little bit more and they're great young players on the rise and it's going to be an honor to learn from them. I love watching hard-nose football. So, I love watching NaVorro Bowman and how he plays and some other players. I can't wait to play with them and learn from them and be under their wing."

How well do you know DeForest Buckner and how do you think maybe the two of you could complement each other?

"DeForest is a great rusher. He's huge. He's 6-8. He can throw guys around and he's very strong. So, I think that I can bring that quickness and that explosion inside as well so we can feed off each other and make things work really nice in there."

You went to Australia for a few years. How old were you when you went and when you came back and how did it affect your American football?

"From ages two to seven, I was in Australia. I was a swimmer. I was on the beach all the time. Just grew up with a different perspective on life and a different place. Coming to America, coming to play football here, I didn't really know what football was. So, when I played football I was pure and young and didn't really care that much about the game and then I learned and I really developed this love for the game myself. Not from TV, not from what you see in the media. I developed it from playing the game. So, that's why I love this game so much because it's a pure love that I have for the game."

As you were going through this process and your name and Chicago Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky's name kept being talked about as top five, six, seven picks, how much did it cross your mind that your performance against North Carolina and him in the Sun Bowl might affect what happened today?

"It definitely helped me being able to play well in that game and just show people who I can be. When I'm myself, when I have my game, that's how well I can play. So, I think that game helped me out a lot and opened peoples' eyes to the player I could be."

If you were in Australia from two to seven, you must have come back with a hell of an accent?

"I did. Yes, sir. I had a very think accent. In Connecticut, they actually put me in a speech class because I couldn't speak right."

Obviously that first call you get from the Niners is more congratulatory, but did they give you any indication of where you would line up and where would you like to line up if you had your druthers?

"You know, I talked about that with the defensive line coach at the combine. Kind of lining up in the end position and stuff so I can move down to that three tech, and be able to rush with DeForest or Arik in there. So, you know that's really what we talked about and I'm excited to figure out and learn more about the system."

Have you watched any of Seattle's defense since it's defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's the defensive coordinator?

"Definitely. I used to watch Seattle's defense all the time. I'm a huge [Seattle Seahawks DE] Michael Bennett fan. And so, I see him move around and see how the edge rushers rush, and so coach Saleh does a great job. He won a Super Bowl there and I can't wait to learn from him."

You might end up playing the same position that Bennett plays. Do you see similarities in your games?

"I definitely do. You know, we're both very versatile. We're quick. You know, I have to earn my stripes before I even get compared to him. I have to play my first downs, and earn my stripes from my teammates and earn their respect. So, that's what I'm just trying to do right now."

It might be too early to ask you this, but Buckner and Armstead both go to Hawaii consistently to work out with Michael Bennett. Is that a trip you'd like to hitchhike on?

"I mean that would be awesome. You know, Hawaii's an amazing place. I haven't been since I was two years old, so I don't remember it. So, going back and being able to train with some great NFL players and learn from them, that would be a blessing."

Are you looking forward to playing Carolina Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey in Week 1?

"I can't wait to play him. You know, that's my boy. That's my best friend. I love him to death. I can't wait to play him."

How do you grade John Lynch as a college student?

"Definitely an A-plus. He was in there every day taking notes, front row. He was at every tutoring session we had with the professor he was there. You know, he motivated me to be a better student just coming in. I was like, 'Wow this guy is coming back to finish his degree. He doesn't need to come back to school and look at how well he's doing.'"

* Transcript provided by the San Francisco 49ers





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