If the San Francisco 49ers end up selecting Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas in the 2017 NFL draft, we have now found the story that could be the difference-maker. And regardless of the 49ers draft plans, this is officially my favorite story of the draft.
MMQB writer Jenny Vrentas put together a notebook of draft content, and it concluded with a fantastic anecdote about Thomas and 49ers GM John Lynch. Back in 2014, Lynch returned to Stanford to finish the degree he was working towards when he declared early for the 1993 NFL draft. He took a class in the Management Science and Engineering department that focused on decision-making. It turns out Thomas was in the same class!
According to Vrentas, the two of them ended up working on a group project that looked at whether or not the Washington NFL team should change its name. Thomas told Vrentas that he did not remember their verdict, although my guess is he is trying to avoid the controversy that can come from discussing the topic. Thomas said he got a B+, and while he did not know Lynch’s grade, he guessed he got an A.
Thomas offered up a slightly amusing quotation about working with Lynch through the project.
“He was on top of all the stuff, coming back as an older person, compared to us young people,” Thomas recalled of Lynch. “He was on top of discipline, very studious and diligent.”
I get the point he is making, but it’s kind of amusing seeing him describe Lynch as “an older person.” It’s obviously a fact that Lynch was older than them, but I’m kind of amused thinking about Lynch in class with the younger kids. Of course, Lynch is not your typical older person, especially for Stanford football players.
I am still not convinced Thomas ends up the pick at No. 2, but he remains the popular pick in our mock draft database. He is clearly a talented football player, but I can’t figure out why people are mocking him outside of just following the herd. How exactly did he become the guy second on big boards?