MOBILE, Ala. -- Kris Kocurek was excused from the 2019 Senior Bowl. Joe Woods was as well. Kyle Shanahan joked with reporters on Tuesday that allowing them to opt out of the week in Mobile, Ala., was part of his recruiting pitch to land them on the San Francisco 49ers defensive coaching staff.
But Robert Saleh shared on Wednesday that Kocurek has already been given his first task as the team's new defensive line coach: scouting Solomon Thomas. Over the next few weeks, Kocurek will be doing a deep dive on Thomas' film. The job is simple and was given without any preconceived notion. It will be up to Kocurek to study Thomas and provide an impartial opinion about where the former first-round pick should be used in 2019 and beyond.
"I know that's going to be the big question," Saleh said on Wednesday. "Kris is going to study him, and we're going to sit down. I want his thoughts, unbiased, so I'm not going to put anything out there right now. He knows what we did last year, and he knows what our thoughts are initially, but we all want to see what he says and how he views (Thomas). From there, we will do what's best for the organization and put Solly in the best place to be successful."
Thomas has been used all over the 49ers defensive line during his first two seasons in San Francisco -- mainly the big end spot and at LEO. He finished 2018 with 31 tackles and one sack. Thomas spent most of his time on the interior towards the end of the season.
Saleh added that the additions of Kocurek and Woods (defensive backs coach/passing game coordinator) would allow the 49ers to make some "cool tweaks" to the 49ers defensive system next year. Fans will be keen to find out how Thomas fits into the puzzle.