Solomon Thomas was solid, but unspectacular in 2017. He posted three sacks and 41 total tackles in 14 games (12 starts). Thomas turned into an every-down player and improved greatly against the run. That's all anyone would ask of most NFL rookies. But being a top five pick adds an extra layer of pressure.
The San Francisco 49ers used the third-overall selection in the 2017 NFL Draft to grab the Stanford product. NFL rules in regards to schools on the quarter system kept Thomas away from the team until training camp. (Quick tangent: This rule has since been changed, which means that all rookies are allowed to partake in the offseason program.) That hindered Thomas' learning curve. Still, there were flashes of brilliance. His motor was evident, but a lack of consistent play-making left people wanting more.
Bleacher Report's Maurice Moton is among those who believe Thomas is set up for a standout sophomore campaign. Moton tabbed Thomas as the 49ers breakout player in 2018.
"Thomas is primed for a productive year under a coaching staff looking to schematically bolster his sack opportunities," Moton said.
The 49ers are desperate to improve a pass rush that generated just 30 sacks in 2017. Outside of free-agent addition Jeremiah Attaochu, San Francisco has opted to bet on the names from last year's roster. Guys like Thomas, Cassius Marsh (who was re-signed this offseason), Eli Harold and DeForest Buckner will be tasked with proving that the front office's faith was well placed.