Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports


PFF calls Solomon Thomas the worst 49ers draft pick since 2006

Jul 2, 2021 at 8:54 AM--


There are a few candidates for the unfortunate distinction of being the biggest 49ers draft miss of the past 15 years, but none of them have been bigger than defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, according to Pro Football Focus.

The statistical analysis website posted its choices for the worst draft pick since 2006 for all 32 NFL teams on Friday morning, with Thomas being the selection for the 49ers. The feature's author, Michael Renner, says Thomas never looked like himself in San Francisco after the 49ers made him the third overall pick in the 2017 draft, due in part to him playing a different position than he was meant to play.

"Thomas was drafted as an edge rusher despite never having played there at Stanford," wrote Renner. "While he dominated against the run for the Cardinal, he did so while penetrating as mostly a 3-technique. He looked like a fish out of water off the edge for the 49ers and never earned a pass-rushing grade higher than 58.3."

Whether or not the 49ers were using Thomas in the best possible way was a subject of frequent discussion during his days with the team, but a torn ACL that ended his 2020 season in Week 2 didn't help his cause either. The 49ers said they were planning on using him inside as much as possible in 2020 before the injury struck.

"It's been our intent to try to keep him inside as much as possible, but he's such a talented football player that sometimes it's, 'Well, shoot, we've got to get him on the field,'" former 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said about Thomas in August 2020. "...We're doing everything we can to make sure that Solly stays inside at all costs. When he is in there, if you look at his tape from a year ago, when he's inside and solely inside, he's a very, very effective football player. Made a lot of plays for us last year inside and so our intent is to try to keep him in there."

Thomas also had to fight through tragedy during his years with the 49ers, as his sister Ella took her own life in January of 2018. It understandably took him some time to cope with Ella's death, and eventually he sought out therapy.

"I knew I needed help but I kept brushing it off and emotions kept piling up and I kept pushing everything down and suppressing my emotions," Thomas said in April, per the Las Vegas Sun. "I started blowing up a little bit and getting into a dark place."

Thomas is now with the Raiders after signing with them on a one-year free agent deal in March. He told reporters in April that he has "fallen in love" with the game of football again and is ready to prove himself after months of rehab. It's quite possible a change of scenery will prove to be exactly what he needs to rejuvenate his career after a disappointing four years with the 49ers.

But as of now, Thomas' name will continue to pop up in lists like the one posted by Pro Football Focus. Thomas isn't the only first-round draft pick who didn't pan out for the 49ers since 2006 -- 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins (30th overall) comes to mind after lasting just one season with the team and catching only 17 total passes in his NFL career, as does linebacker Reuben Foster, who was also picked in Round 1 (31st overall) by the 49ers in 2017 but saw his time in the Bay Area come to an end in 2018 due to off-field concerns. But no. 3 overall picks are expected to bring a much bigger return than what the 49ers got from Thomas, which makes it easy to understand why PFF made him its choice.

Other notable names to make the list were former Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who was picked one spot ahead of Thomas in 2017, and former Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen, who was picked in Round 1 in 2018 but is now on the 49ers roster. Click here to take a look.



Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



PFF's 2020 re-draft has 49ers passing on Javon Kinlaw for cornerback help

By David Bonilla
Jun 22

Fans like to play "What If," wondering what things might be like had their favorite team opted for a different choice at a pivotal moment. Fans aren't the only ones, though. Take former San Francisco 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt, now with the Philadelphia Eagles, for instance. His missed interception of a Matthew Stafford pass intended for receiver Van Jefferson in the NFC title game might have sent the Niners back to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. "That's a play I should make in my sleep, and I didn't make it," Tartt said after the game. "... I know that was a big play in the game, a big opportunity for me and for the team, and as a player, I just feel like I let my brothers down." Had Tartt made the play, maybe the 49ers win their sixth



Arik Armstead calls Warriors' championship 'inspiring,' hopes 49ers can replicate success

By David Bonilla
Jun 22

The San Francisco 49ers have come close to hoisting the franchise's sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy. They fell just short during the 2012 season, losing 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens. Seven years later, they fell short again, collapsing in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl and watching as the Kansas City Chiefs celebrated a championship. Last season, the 49ers were a play or two away from returning to sports' biggest stage, falling to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC title game. San Francisco can't get over the hump. On Monday, the Bay Area celebrated the Golden State Warriors' seventh championship as thousands of fans swarmed Market Street for the parade. It's an inspiring sight for the championship-hungry 49ers. "Yeah,



CBS analyst calls 49ers' situations with Deebo Samuel and Jimmy Garoppolo 'messy' and 'awkward'

By David Bonilla
Jun 28

In May, former offensive lineman turned broadcaster and analyst Ryan Harris made headlines stating that sources inside the San Francisco 49ers shared doubts about second-year quarterback Trey Lance. He also said that some expected Jimmy Garoppolo to start come Week 1. Harris rejoined CBS Sports HQ to share his thoughts on two big 49ers-related offseason storylines—Deebo Samuel and Garoppolo. Earlier this offseason, Samuel requested to be traded after watching several of his wide receiver peers cash in while the 49ers star waited for his own contract extension. San Francisco had hoped to trade Garoppolo in March. However, the quarterback



49ers' Deebo Samuel, George Kittle among PFF's top offensive duos

By David Bonilla
Jun 23

The San Francisco 49ers would probably love to see Brandon Aiyuk emerge as one of the top receivers in the NFL. That would make an Aiyuk-Deebo Samuel duo a headache for opposing defenses. Until then, the 49ers have two impressive offensive weapons in Samuel and tight end George Kittle. That's good news for second-year quarterback Trey Lance, who is expected to be the team's Week 1 starter after starting only two games as a rookie. The Samuel-Kittle pairing ranks among Pro Football Focus' top five offensive duos heading into the 2022 season. Kambui Bomani explains that both controlling the middle of the field at an elite level landed them within the


Featured

Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone