Updated March 1, 2017
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
One of the fastest rising prospects in mock drafts since the end of the 2016 season was Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas. WalterFootball.com was first to report that Thomas would leave the Cardinal early for the 2017 NFL Draft, and his huge bowl game against North Carolina jump started a lot of hype for Thomas that led to him being projected to go in the top 10 picks, with Thomas being as high as No. 4 overall in Walt's 2017 NFL Mock Draft. In speaking with sources from seven different teams, however, six of them thought that Thomas is more of a mid-to-late first-round pick.
A general manger of a NFC playoff team said Thomas should go in the top 24 picks, but they didn't have him as a high first-rounder. Another AFC playoff team graded him as a late first-round pick. The issue that is coming up the most with Thomas is that many teams feel he has tweener size with listed numbers of 6-foot-3, 273-pounds. Some 3-4 teams feel that he isn't a great fit in their defense and more of a 4-3 end. Sources from that AFC playoff team said that Thomas is more of a good left defensive end for a 4-3 team. They think he has good technique, hand use, awareness, and feel while also being a great person off the field. An NFC team picking in the top 20 said they thought Thomas would go in the 11-20 range.
There were a number of interesting comments about Thomas from league sources. One AFC director of college scouting picking in the top 20 had this to say about Thomas: "Late one is right for him. Not worthy of a top 10. Nice player, but not special; undersized defensive end."
One general manager of a team picking in the top 10 said, "Thomas of Stanford does seem a bit rich to go in the top 10, but I think he would go around mid-to-late first ... he is a good football player but may not be quite that 'sexy' to go in the top 10 … time will tell."
Another NFC national scout described Thomas like this: "Solomon is explosive, but at 276-280 pounds he's got some tweener. He's not a true defensive end but a hybrid, jack of all trades/master of none type."
WalterFootball.com did speak with a NFC general manager picking outside of the top 10 who did think Thomas was worthy of going that high and had a real shot of being chosen in that range. That general managers said, "Thomas is going higher, many view him as a poor man's Aaron Donald."
It is entirely possible that Thomas will have a great workout at the combine to help his draft stock. It only takes one team in the top 10 to fall in love and pull the trigger on Thomas that early, but in speaking with seven NFL teams, six of them thought Thomas was a mid to late first-round talent.