The San Francisco 49ers were on hand for Stanford’s Thursday Pro Day, and one of the big names was defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Mock drafts have tied Thomas to the 49ers in recent weeks, with Thomas becoming the most popular name in the past week.
Thomas plays defensive end, but in chatting with the media after his workout, he said versatility is one of his biggest strengths. He said that, “It’s a blessing to be a tweener” (6’3, 273 pounds) because he can play in any system, be it a 3-4 or a 4-3. The 49ers are switching to a 4-3 and need someone to handle the Leo position. Scouting reports have suggested he is better inside at tackle, but his size would be a concern in that regard.
If the 49ers did draft Thomas, former NFL GM Gil Brandt thinks they would be getting a huge upgrade in the leadership department. In talking with Matt Barrows, he said that he’s the type of leader the 49ers badly need:
"He's what I call a 'Two,'" Brandt said. "A 'Two' means he's not only a great football player, he's a tremendous person off the field -- a great character person. In this draft, if we had one person that some day may be a senator of the United States, it'll be this guy."
The 49ers have some important leaders, but given how the last couple years have gone, they need to replenish the leadership. Scheme fit has some value, but Kyle Shanahan has talked about fitting his scheme around the players he has. That has been exclusively an offensive thing thus far in his career, but it is something to factor in if the 49ers thinking Thomas is clearly the best option after Myles Garrett.