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John Lynch: Solomon Thomas will continue to grow as a player

John Lynch detailed how he thought the growth of Thomas would continue, ultimately saying patience is a virtue

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers first round pick Solomon Thomas missed the past two games with a knee injury but will hopefully head back onto the field to face the Seahawks. Thus far he has tallied 26 total tackles, 22 solo, 4 combined, and two sacks. Thomas started a little behind the curve because of school attendance rules, causing him to miss OTAs but has been thrust into additional snaps as a result of injuries.

John Lynch went to bat the for the first pick of his inaugural draft, challenging anyone to say that Thomas hasn’t played well. He cited injuries in the defensive line position group as one of the reasons his development hasn’t been quicker but he remained very positive about the lineman’s future.

Here are Lynch’s full comments on Thomas:

I think I’ve been very pleased with Solomon. I think some people are saying, “Hey, your number three pick should be a little more dynamic,” but his play has been solid. We knew it would be a process, he's a young kid that I think physically is going to grow in stature. We probably out of necessity and out of our own doing, the inability to get off the field, the inability to hold the ball, he’s played a lot of snaps for a rookie so you never want to see anyone get hurt but it almost came at a good time because I felt like you could see him getting tired. So we gotta get him back and healthy but I feel like these last six games are going to be really good for him.

He’s a worker. I challenge anyone to say he hasn’t played extremely well. I think he’s been a very solid player. I only think it will get better. Part of our vision where he was going to really excel in this league was in the sub package, the nickel stuff as an inside rusher. We are in a complete process there so we’ve had to generate pass rush more so that has taken away from his ability to just line up on a guard and go to work on him. That’s where I think he will excel, so as we continue to add pieces I think he will get only better. I really am extremely positive on his future for a long long time for us at the 49ers. We’re very pleased with the way he’s playing.

Similar to Reuben Foster, who has missed time due to injury, Thomas will benefit from more time to learn and adjust life in the NFL. Being able to focus on one or two positions, as opposed to being used all over the defensive line, will also accelerate Thomas’ learning progress.

Thomas has returned to limited participation in practice since the bye and will hopefully be available on Sunday. The team did acquire defensive linemen Cassius Marsh and Sheldon Day off of waivers to add depth after releasing Datone Jones. The team also expects Tank Carradine to return from IR soon, which will require another roster transaction.