Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Casserly: Solomon Thomas a ‘sleeper’ among 49ers defenders who need to fill DeForest Buckner void

Jun 26, 2020 at 3:47 PM--


The San Francisco 49ers signed both of their first-round draft picks on Friday. That includes the No. 14 overall pick, Javon Kinlaw, who is expected to help fill the void left by the departure of defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

Analyst Charley Casserly joined NFL Network on Friday to discuss what the 49ers need to do to ensure there is no drop-off along the defensive front now that Buckner is in Indianapolis. Casserly calls the loss of the Pro Bowl defender the biggest offseason storyline for the defending NFC champions.

"How do you replace him? Well, not with one person," Casserly told Mike Garafolo. "First-round pick, Javon Kinlaw, in the running downs, this guy is a disruptive player. He can get in the backfield and make plays."

Added Casserly: "We know Kinlaw can get to the passer. Again, he's disruptive, a good 3-technique."

Casserly also mentions D.J. Jones, who he says has to stay healthy. Then you have pass rushers like Arik Armstead and Dee Ford, that latter of whom also has to stay healthy.

Injuries plagued Ford's 2019 campaign, but he was a disruptive force when he got onto the football field. San Francisco in March re-signed Armstead to a multi-year deal.

Casserly named one more player who might be able to help ensure the 49ers' defensive line remains a dominant group.

"Another guy, Solomon Thomas; played a little better last year than people gave him credit for," Casserly explained. "He's a sleeper to come through. But they're going to need more than one to replace Buckner."

Thomas was the first draft pick by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. They made the defender the No. 3 overall pick in 2017, and he has recorded six sacks, 93 tackles, and 23 quarterback hits in his three NFL seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.





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