There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for redshirt sophomore defensive tackle/end Solomon Thomas, Stanford Cardinals.
DT/DE-Solomon Thomas, Stanford 6’3” 273 lbs.
This hybrid defender has been climbing many draft pundits mock drafts. He is a too tall and skinny to play inside on the defensive line for more than a few snaps a game, yet Thomas isn’t fluid enough to play outside backer. Let’s take a look at his talents to see where the former Cardinal will be the most effective. Since I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the seven games I reviewed of the redshirt sophomore playmaker: 2016 contests versus Arizona, Kansas State, Colorado, UCLA, North Carolina, Rice, and Washington. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: The defender is stiff-hipped, which means it takes him time to change directions. His legs are not powerful, so he relies more on his upper body to anchor and free himself from blockers. Thomas has a bad habit of standing up too quickly; this allows the offensive lineman to get leverage over him. While his physicality is developed, he needs to improve his technique to disengage blockers. The defensive lineman needs to become more consistent getting his arms up when he cannot reach the quarterback so can at least disrupt the passing lane. His passion and intensity are great, but he needs to do less gambling on the snap count as Thomas got it wrong several times last year.
Pros: This explosive, well-balanced athlete has a quick first step off the line of scrimmage along with him shooting his arms to engage the offensive lineman across from him anchoring well against the run. He usually lined up in a four-point stance and would be used in all four D-line spots in a 4-3 (mostly kicked inside during pass rushing situations). His favorite method of getting to the signal caller is the bull-rush but can use spins and swims to get around trouble as well. There were quite a few occasions where he was engaged with a blocker and would use his other arm to bring down the ball carrier which shows off his powerful upper body. Thomas has good vision and is quite instinctive finding the pigskin quickly. The former Cardinal defender has a good motor, moving down the line of scrimmage to make the play or chasing down the ball 20 yards downfield. He is a good wrap-up tackler who likes to smash runners with his entire body weight.
Overall impressions: Thomas is a powerful defender who needs to be in the right situation to succeed. He needs to be drafted by an NFL team that has a four man front and will hopefully kick him inside on third and longs. If the defender increases his lower body power, there is no reason why the former Cardinal cannot be a top four defensive lineman in his class. His price tag should be a lot less than Garrett, Barnett, or Allen’s.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.