San Francisco 49ers first round pick Solomon Thomas is back home in Texas while he waits for the Stanford final exam period to end, and recently he ran into NFL personnel legend Gil Brandt. The two ran into each other in Dallas, and chatted for a few minutes. According to Brandy, Thomas confirmed the plan on having outside on early downs, and inside on passing downs.
Solomon Thomas said 49ers' plan for him is to play outside on early downs and move inside on passing downs.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) May 26, 2017
The exact specifics are still to be determined, particularly as it relates to working as a LEO on one end vs, working as the big end on the other side of the defensive line. Arik Armstead and Aaron Lynch are getting a lot of work at LEO, while Tank Carradine has been getting the big end work. My guess is the goal will be for Thomas to take over that big end role in place of Tank.
Missing OTAs and most of minicamp is not a plus for Thomas. One upside for now is he has had time to work with DeMarcus Ware in Texas (video). He’s got access to the 49ers playbook and practice film, but he cannot re-join the squad until Stanford’s exam period ends in mid-June. Once training camp arrives, he’ll be able to be a full participant.
I am curious to see whether or not Tank Carradine remains the No. 1 big end option at the start of camp, or if Thomas slots in quickly. The 49ers could take their time with Thomas, but there is room for plenty of rotation. Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner both make a lot of sense as defensive tackles in the nickel. One thing I’ll be looking for is how they rotate the line in both the base and sub options. They’ve got three very solid potential defensive linemen in Armstead, Buckner, and Thomas. If Tank provides anything at this point, it feels like a potential cherry on top. That could give them some pretty tremendous defensive line depth as they look to re-build the defense.