Defensive Line #90
RS-Sophomore 6’3 276
- Extremely quick
- Possesses multiple pass rush moves
- High motor
When you think of Stanford your mind probably goes straight to Christian McCaffrey, which is justified. However, you might just be overlooking a top ten player in this draft, and a sure fire first rounder in my opinion. Solomon Thomas has many of the traits of top defensive lineman and the fact that he is getting comparisons to Aaron Donald should tell you everything you need to know about his game. I do not think Thomas is quite on the level of an Aaron Donald, but really not many guys are.
Thomas put up 8.5 sacks on the season, which is even more impressive when you realize he lined up everywhere from a wide nine defensive end to a three gap defensive tackle. When you watch Thomas you’re likely to notice that his arsenal of pass rush moves is very advanced for a college player. One play he will hit a guard with a swim move and beat him inside, the next play he will set up inside and spin right around the guard. Also, if all else fails Thomas is capable of extending his arms and going through an offensive lineman.
Possibly Thomas’s biggest asset as a pass rusher is his quickness, he is very frequently the first player out of his stance. When Thomas realizes he is not going to get to the quarterback he is very adept at timing his jumps to get into passing lanes to tip passes down. Between being in the quarterbacks lap and knocking his passes down at the line of scrimmage I am sure that opposing quarterbacks get headaches just thinking about playing Solomon Thomas.
As a rush defender Thomas does an excellent job of bench pressing offensive lineman at the point of attack, and getting his eyes in the backfield to find the running back. One of the things I like about his game is that Thomas does not shoot up field like many college players with great burst. On run plays Thomas is disciplined enough to shoot down the heel line and stop running plays in their tracks.
When Thomas is asked to play in space he is surprisingly effective, he won’t be a standup defender more than likely, but when asked to defend the read option or edge runs he shows good burst to close the gap. Thomas also has a very high motor and he is frequently found trying to run down plays with solid pursuit angles. Weighing in at nearly 280 pounds it is nice to see him trying to get down field to stop plays once they are out of his “area”.
Thomas could be put in an Aaron Donald type role, where he is asked to shoot gaps on the inside against slower guards. However I think his best fit would be as a strong side defensive end in a 4-3 defense with the ability to move inside on obvious passing downs where he could give guards fits with his speed. Thomas possesses the strength to hold his own against most offensive lineman, but his real calling card is his legit first step quickness. Like I always say offensive lineman can’t block you if they can’t touch you.
Player Comparison: Brandon Graham
Round Grade: First