Violent. Disruptive. Explosive. Thanks to a head-turning display of these abilities in the Hyundai Sun Bowl, Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas may have vaulted himself into the first round.
Thomas, a 6’3 273-pound defensive lineman who led the Cardinal with 15 tackles for loss and eight sacks during the season, flashed some of his raw potential in single-handily disrupting North Carolina’s offensive line to the tune of seven total tackles and sacking projected first-round pick in quarterback Mitch Trubisky once during Stanford’s 25-23 win.
While many may have heard the names of other well-known defensive linemen such as Jonathan Allen, Myles Garrett, Charles Harris and Derek Barnett have all gotten the spotlight, Thomas—thanks to playing out on the West Coast in Palo Alto, has practically flown under the radar.
Maybe it is a case of modern-day 24-7 all-day fawning of the SEC on various sports networks, or that it is simply too late for East Coast-based football fans simply tuning out to see Thomas’ exploits, but make no mistake, he surely announced himself to the NFL world with is dominant one-man wrecking crew-like performance.
Once projected as a late third to a mid second-round pick on most mock drafts, Thomas is now slated to go as high as the middle to borderline top ten in the first round. Teams in need of defensive line/edge rush help such as Cleveland, Buffalo, Baltimore are among likely suitors for his services, if he is available.
Comparable to Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Thomas—although a bit undersized for a defensive lineman, is just as disruptive and talented at causing havoc on opposing QB’s and offensive lines.
Versatile, athletic and quick, Thomas plays with a high motor and can play either a three-tech or five tech in a 3-4 or 4-3 defense as he can help at the point of attack as a defender or rusher.
Thanks to his first-step quickness and ability to be disruptive due to his violent hands, Thomas’ allure for teams that desperately need talent and depth on the defensive line will only increase between now and April.
If you didn’t know who Solomon Thomas was before the Sun Bowl or after, trust me when I say that you will be hearing more of him before draft day.