EDGE Solomon Thomas, Stanford
6’3”, 273 lbs.
- Excellent athleticism for a 4-3 end.
- Versatile player in a 4 man front, can play end on early downs and kick inside on nickel situations.
- Ascending player, who really improved this past year and finished the year with a dominating bowl performance against the Tar Heels.
- Plays with pretty good power and play strength.
- Very good versus the run, does a nice job shedding blocks and finding the ball carrier.
- Quality pass rusher with good sack and pressure production.
- Has the upside to become an elite defender.
- Don’t love his fit in a 3 man front, feel like he’s shorter and lighter than you want from a 5 technique and not a great body type for a 3-4 OLB. He can help in nickel for those teams, but his value becomes more limited.
- Might not be an every down interior nickel rusher, which could limit his 3-4 fit even more. He can play inside some, but you probably don’t want him there all the time as teams might be able to run at him in a nickel set.
- Doesn’t fight off blocks as much as consistently as you’d like, again making him a better fit on the edge than the interior.
- Needs to develop more pass rush moves and counters.
Thomas is a really good prospect that has the chance to be great, but the big concern for him is that he might be pretty limited as a 4-3 player. In a 4-3 system, he can be a perfect base end who can move inside on some third downs. His size, athleticism and power are perfect for that role, and he can really be an impact guy.
He’s not an every down 3-tech interior defensive linemen even though he played more of that type of role in college. He’s got the speed and quickness to be disruptive inside and that is why on obvious passing downs he can work in there. On running downs though his lack of size could be a liability inside. The same concerns are there for his usage in a 3-4 base system. He just doesn’t fit the primary roles as you’d like so it makes it tough to believe he can reach his max potential there.
While Thomas isn’t a great fit for some teams, he still has too much value and potential to ignore and is likely to be drafted in the top 10, if not the top 5 picks.