For the second week in a row, 2017 No. 3 overall pick Solomon Thomas featured in under half of the 49ers’ snaps on Sunday, and found himself consistently on the bench during third-down passing situations.
Thomas has never been considered a bonafide edge rusher, even in college. Rather, he was drafted for his versatility as an interior presence in both the run and pass game.
49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco thinks the 49ers need to tweak the way they are using Thomas, however, and told Murph & Mac on Thursday morning that because the team doesn’t seem to have a productive edge rusher, they might as well play Thomas on third downs to see what he can do.
“I haven’t given up on Solomon Thomas,” Maiocco began. “I think they should get him out there on third downs. I know they’ve been going with Cassius Marsh on third downs, but when you have the number three overall pick in the draft, put him out there, let’s see what he can do. He played less than half of the 49ers’ defensive snaps, he’s rushing from the inside, on base downs he’s on the outside, but occasionally they’ll put him in on the inside, and he was getting a little bit of the pressure on the quarterback.
“I think they need to see what he can do. I mean we’ve seen everybody else, the other guys they’re putting out there for the most part are guys who average about one sack a season. I think there has to come a time where they go with Solomon Thomas and let him, whether it’s outside or inside, I don’t know that it matters. Especially when the only pressure that you’re getting on the quarterback is coming from DeForest Buckner, you know you can move guys around. I don’t think any of these guys are just so lacking in versatility that they can’t move to different spots of the line to get after the quarterback.”
Through the first two regular season games, Buckner is the only 49ers defensive lineman who has reached the quarterback, with a team high 3.5 sacks.
Listen to the full interview below. To hear Maiocco on Thomas, start from 5:35.