Draft picks always come with a lot of pressure for the players, the fans and everyone on the team have high and some time unrealistic expectations on the players which can have an impact on the player.
Solomon Thomas DE #94
Ht / Wt: 6 ft 3 in /256 lb
Drafted: 2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Experience: 1st season
This was the same predicament that Solomon Thomas faced when he was signed the by the San Fransisco 49ers. Solomon Thomas was picked by the 49ers as the third overall pick in the NFL draft of 2017.
When Thomas signed for the 49ers, it was always going to be a hit or miss considering that he was a rookie. and that was a risk that the management was willing to take. After the signing of the deal, Thomas said that he was nervous but at the same time excited for signing for such an amazing team. He also said that he would work hard to improve the 49ers odds for having a breakthrough season.
It is fair to say that his first season did not live up to the hype although he did have an impressive run of form for some time. Thomas was played in 14 games in the 2017 season and his first game was against the Cardinals in week four. This was the start of his consecutive 3 match run after which he had a tally of 16 tackles and two sacks in what was an explosive start. He however suffered a knee injury shortly after this run of matches which saw him sidelined for a while.
His 3 sacks saw him finish the season tied at 70 among all defensive linesmen in the 2017 season to go with 41 tackles. While these numbers is not impressive there is still room for improvement. One thing that negatively impacted his season is his late start he got with the team. Being a student at Stanford meant that he was still in school until June and since it is in the NFL rules and regulations to not allow rookie to play before their schools have carried out a graduation ceremony. The team's plans had to however go on and this meant that when Thomas finally joined his teammates he was already playing catch up.
Another problem at the start of the season was that the team's management was not sure of the position to play Thomas in his first season. He first position was the "big" end point where he played in close collaboration with Tank Carradine. He was then shifted and played at the " leo" position after a brief period of time. These movements in position did have a bearing on his form and results in the season. When asked what he thought about this he said that playing in different positions you have to learn a lot of skills which can be hard even for the elite players.
It will interesting to see what the 2018 season holds for Solomon Thomas. Thomas has talked of how he is working his socks off to become better in his game and his teammates also seem to think that we have not seen the best of him yet. It is expected that the 49ers will sign another player for the "Leo" spot which is expected to give Thomas to move to a more permanent position.