Solomon Thomas

49ers To Place Jimmie Ward On IR

The 49ers will place safety Jimmie Ward and offensive tackle Garry Gilliam on season-ending injured reserve, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters, including Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com.Jimmie Ward (Vertical)

Ward, 26, suffered a broken arm in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles, so his placement on IR doesn’t come as a surprise. The former first-round pick had started six of seven games for the 49ers in 2017, but had only graded as the No. 69 safety among 87 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus. San Francisco exercised Ward’s fifth-year option earlier this year, so he’ll back in the Bay Area in 2018. In the meantime, the 49ers will consider moving Eric Reid back to safety following a short stay at linebacker, tweets Matt Maiocco of the Bay Area News Group.

Gilliam, meanwhile, has barely played this season despite several injuries along the 49ers’ offensive line. He’d seen action on just 38 total snaps after inking a one-year, $2.2MM restricted free agent offer sheet with San Francisco (that the Seahawks declined to match). Gilliam does have 31 games of starting experience under his belt, but he’ll now hit 2018 free agency coming off an injury-marred campaign.

Ward and Gilliam aren’t the only 49ers’ players dealing with health questions, however. Left tackle Joe Staley will miss at least two games after suffering an orbital bone fracture on Sunday, while defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — who is dealing with a low-grade MCL sprain, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com — will also miss roughly two weeks, Shanhan announced. While the winless 49ers aren’t going anywhere in 2017, Staley’s injury likely negates any chance that San Francisco would trade him before Tuesday’s deadline.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Notes: 49ers, Cardinals, Ford

The 49ers have used three first-round picks on defensive linemen since 2015, and each of those figures to be in the starting lineup Sunday. With Tank Carradine on IR, Solomon Thomas will likely start at San Francisco’s strong-side defensive end spot, Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee notes. The 49ers have used Thomas as an edge defender, but DC Robert Saleh envisions the No. 2 overall pick as a “premier inside rusher” once he develops. Saleh said Thomas “could be a good edge rusher,” so it’s clear the first-year 49ers coordinator wants to see how the Stanford product functions from a defensive tackle spot.

We do need to find ways to get him inside to rush the passer a little bit more,” Saleh said, via Barrows.

The 49ers, though, used first-round picks on interior defenders Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner the previous two years. Buckner rates as Pro Football Focus’ No. 3 interior defender, behind only J.J. Watt and Ndamukong Suh, through three games. The new-look 49ers defensive staff wanted to decrease Buckner’s workload upon being hired, Saleh calling it “criminal” for Buckner to exceed 1,000 snaps as he did as a rookie, but Barrows observes those stances softening as the season’s begun. At 179 defensive plays, Buckner is on pace for nearly the 1,005 snaps he played last season now. Injuries to Carradine and Ronald Blair, and the release of current Packers cog Quinton Dial, has thinned out a potential 49ers D-line rotation.

Here’s the latest from the Western divisions.

  • The Cardinals are not receiving Jared Veldheer‘s best work thus far this season. The team’s move of the veteran left tackle to the right side has not gone well, and Veldheer might be playing in his final Arizona season. While Veldheer took a day away from the team to consider leaving football earlier this year, Mike Jurecki of ArizonaSports.com notes (on Twitter) the veteran lineman would like to return in 2018. However, Jurecki does not expect him to stay with the Cardinals. Veldheer’s in the fourth season of a five-year, $35MM deal — one that includes a $10.25MM cap hold for 2018. He profiles as a cap casualty at this point.
  • Deone Bucannon will make his season debut after an extensive layoff due to an ankle injury. Bruce Arians confirmed the inside linebacker will be ready to suit up in Week 4. Haason Reddick, the fill-in player here, will likely start Sunday while Bucannon is gradually worked back into the fold, per Arians.
  • The Chiefs, though, will be without a key front-seven piece in their Week 4 game. Dee Ford will miss Kansas City’s Monday-night home game against Washington. With Tamba Hali already being conserved for the stretch run via the PUP list, this will leave the AFC West leaders thin at outside linebacker. Ford’s dealing with a back injury.
  • The gap between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard remains too wide for the 49ers to consider a quarterback change, Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com writes. Hoyer’s system knowledge giving the embattled 49ers their best chance to win now makes him unlikely to be unseated any time soon, Maiocco notes.

49ers Sign First-Round DL Solomon Thomas

The 49ers have agreed to terms with first-round defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, general manager John Lynch announced. Thomas, the third overall selection, had been one of just three unsigned 2017 draft picks, a list that now includes only cornerback Gareon Conley (Raiders) and wide receiver Corey Davis (Titans).Solomon Thomas 49ers (vertical)

On Thursday, Lynch indicated his “concern” that talks with Thomas had not yet concluded, and while it hasn’t yet been officially reported as to what caused the holdup, offset language typically causes snags during negotiations with top picks. As Joel Corry of CBSSports.com noted earlier this week (Twitter link), San Francisco didn’t include offset language in 2013 first-rounder Eric Reid‘s rookie deal, meaning Reid could have collected both his 49ers salary and money from a new club had he been released. Thomas likely wanted the same concession in his contract, but the 49ers’ new regime may have wanted to start a fresh precedent in regards to rookie pacts.

Thomas, a Stanford product, will add to already crowded San Francisco defensive line, a unit that also includes the club’s first-round picks from 2015 and 2016. Thomas will likely play defensive end opposite Arik Armstead, while DeForest Buckner will kick inside in the 49ers’ new 4-3 scheme. The rest of San Francisco’s defensive line includes free agent addition Earl Mitchell, Aaron Lynch, Quinton Dial, and other depth pieces.

The 49ers’ four-year deal with Thomas should be worth roughly $28.154MM and contain a signing bonus of ~$18.616MM, according to Over the Cap. The pact will also include a fifth-year option, affording San Francisco the opportunity to retain Thomas in 2021.

Photo courtesy of Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

Latest On 49ers’ Talks With Solomon Thomas

49ers defensive lineman Solomon Thomas is one of just three rookies without a contract, and general manager John Lynch told reporters Thursday that he’s “concerned” that the third overall pick remains unsigned. Lynch is “hopeful,” though, that the two sides will reach an agreement before San Francisco starts training camp practice Friday.

“I wish this were done. I think it should be done,” said Lynch (via NBC Sports Bay Area).

Solomon Thomas 49ers (vertical)

As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk writes, the battle between the 49ers and the ex-Stanford star likely centers on offset language, signing bonus cash flow or a combination of the two. Last year’s third overall pick, defensive end Joey Bosa, fought over those issues with the Chargers and didn’t strike a deal until the end of August, when he landed the largest upfront signing bonus in franchise history ($17MM) in exchange for letting the Bolts include offsets in the deal.

The 49ers and Thomas won’t necessarily go down the same ugly road that the Chargers and Bosa did, but it’s worth noting that the players are both CAA clients. Also of concern is that Thomas missed most of the 49ers’ offseason program because NFL rules stipulate that rookies who haven’t completed their undergraduate degrees are not allowed to join their teams on a full-time basis until the spring semester ends. So, sitting out a chunk of camp on top of that missed time during the spring would place Thomas further behind the 8-ball than he already is.

When Thomas does sign with the 49ers, they’ll get a player who totaled 61 tackles and 8.5 sacks last year en route to third-team All-America honors. For now, he and two other first-rounders – Titans wide receiver Corey Davis (fifth overall) and Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley (24th) – are the only members of this year’s draft class awaiting contracts.

Photo via Pro Football Rumors on Instagram.

49ers Select Solomon Thomas No. 3 Overall

With the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, the 49ers have selected Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Thomas was regarded by most as the best defensive end available after Myles Garrett. Solomon Thomas 49ers (vertical)

Thomas enters the NFL after two strong collegiate seasons. In 2016, Thomas had 61 total tackles – including 14 tackles for a loss – and 8.5 sacks. He’s a three-technique player with the ability to play on the inside when asked, though most evaluators would like to see him beef up in order to hold his ground on the interior. Depending on who you ask, Thomas is either labeled as versatile or as a “tweener”. Either way, no one denies that he is a high-level talent.

With the Niners, he projects to start at defensive end with 2015 first round pick Arik Armstead on the other side. The Niners will have free agent pickup Earl Mitchell and 2016 All-Rookie selection DeForest Bucker on the inside.

Moments ago, the Niners traded down from No. 2 to acquire Chicago’s No. 3 overall selection plus more. The 49ers also received picks No. 67 and No. 111 this year plus a 2018 a third-round pick next year. Ultimately, they got a king’s ransom to move back just one spot and land one of this year’s very best talents.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

PFR’s 2017 Live NFL Mock Draft

The 2017 NFL Draft begins on Thursday night, and Pro Football Rumors is back with its second mock draft of the year. While our initial mock attempted to project what will happen in Round 1, we’ve taken a different approach for mock draft 2.0.

PFR editor Zach Links and I conducted this live mock draft on Tuesday morning, rotating picks and breaking down what we would do were we in charge of these selections. We posted each pick on Twitter, followed by a short explanation of our thought process on this page.

Here’s the complete mock:

1. Cleveland Browns (Zach) – Myles Garrett, LB, Texas A&M

I suspect this is the easiest pick either one of us will make all day. Garrett is the best pure talent in this year’s draft and the Browns would be foolish to go in any other direction at the top of the draft.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Dallas) – Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State

Reports that the 49ers are considering a quarterback with the second overall selection stand out as a potential smokescreen, and instead San Francisco uses the No. 2 pick to bolster its defense. Hooker, who recently earned a full medical clearance following combine rechecks, has been commonly linked to the Chargers as a perfect fit for Los Angeles defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme. But the 49ers are running the same defensive look as the Chargers under new DC Robert Saleh, and Hooker would give the team a centerfielder with the upside of an Earl Thomas. San Francisco’s plan to convert nickel cornerback Jimmie Ward to safety won’t stop it from adding Hooker, who is possibly the draft’s No. 2 overall prospect.

3. Chicago Bears (Zach) – Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford 

Dallas’ bold pick left my Bears with a golden opportunity. The Bears could go safety or cornerback in this scenario, but the talent of Thomas is too good to pass up. Thomas can be used on both the inside and outside of the Bears’ defensive line and I see him as one of the safest talents on the board.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Dallas) – Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

No, we didn’t forget the Jaguars used a top-five pick on Jalen Ramsey in 2016 and then handed a $67.5MM contract to A.J. Bouye in free agency last month. But one of Ramsey’s key selling points last year was his versatility: while he’s a shutdown corner at his best, Ramsey can man the slot, cover tight ends, and dabble at safety. As such, adding Conley doesn’t mean Jacksonville is facing cornerback overload, especially given that NFL clubs are in the nickel more than two-thirds of the time. Conley is viewed as a safer prospect than his Ohio State teammate Marshon Lattimore, and he’d give the Jaguars a Broncos-like secondary.

5. Tennessee Titans (Zach) – Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State

The Titans, arguably, get the best cornerback available in the draft even though they are the second team to address the position. No, we don’t have a ton of film to go on for Lattimore, but his combine numbers indicate that he could be a megastar. Few teams in the NFL would have a young cornerback duo like the Titans if they can pair Logan Ryan with Lattimore.Mitch Trubisky Instagram

6. Cleveland Browns (projected trade with Jets) (Dallas) – Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina

In need of a franchise quarterback, the Browns send the No. 12 and No. 52 pick to the Jets in exchange for No. 6 with the intention of drafting Trubisky. It’s a slight overpay for Cleveland (at least, based on Chase Stuart of Football Perspective‘s draft value chart, which is likely what the Browns front offices uses), but it does the deal anyway to land a long-term option under center. Given that Browns owner Jimmy Haslam is reportedly pressing the club to select a quarterback early — and the fact the Cleveland may still be considering Trubisky with the first overall selection — landing the UNC signal-caller at No. 5 for the cost of a mid-second-round pick is a move the Browns can’t pass up.

7. Los Angeles Chargers (Zach) – Jonathan Allen, DL, Alabama

In this scenario, it seems like Allen’s subpar workouts have led to a bit of a drop. His size (6’3″) is a bit of a concern, but he has the ability to be an effective defensive end while spending some time on the inside as well. Allen would look great lining up on the opposite end of Joey Bosa.

8. Carolina Panthers (Dallas) – Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan

Sitting at pick No. 8, the Panthers certainly have options. General manager Dave Gettleman & Co. could go after a running back like Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey, bring in a young edge rusher to play alongside veterans like Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers, or even reach for an offensive tackle given Michael Oher‘s health questions. With Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown having defected via free agency, the Panthers need another wideout to pair with Kelvin Benjamin. Enter Davis, who topped 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Zach) – Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster’s stock, by all accounts, is slipping after he turned in a diluted urine sample and got into an argument with a hospital worker at the combine. However, with other teams in the market for an inside linebacker (like the Jets at No. 12, for example), it would be somewhat risky to trade down into the teens and expect Foster to still be there. The Bengals have been willing to overlook character concerns in the past, so I see no reason why they can’t do the same here and land the Alabama star.

10. Buffalo Bills (Dallas) – Jamal Adams, S, LSU

While the Bills gave Jordan Poyer a four-year deal with $6MM in guarantees earlier this offseason, I’m still not convinced Buffalo views him as a definite starter. Those questions come to the forefront with Adams still on the board, and the Bills don’t hesitate to take the LSU defensive back. With ex-Packer Micah Hyde also in the fold, Buffalo can field one of the more diverse and flexible safety tandems in the league. Adams is viewed as a leader in the locker room, and has been favorably compared to former Cowboys All Pro Darren Woodson by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com.

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Schrager’s Latest: 49ers, Kizer, Humphrey

The 49ers‘ interest in UNC quarterback Mitch Trubisky has been “real” during the entire predraft process, according to Peter Schrager of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Ian Rapoport of NFL.com indicated this morning that San Francisco is considering drafting a signal-caller with the No. 2 overall selection. LSU safety Jamal Adams and Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas are also possibilities for the Niners, per Schrager, who adds San Francisco is willing to trade down if another club is eyeing Trubisky.

Here’s more on the 2017 draft, all courtesy of Schrager:

  • Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer could have a similar draft outlook to Paxton Lynch in 2016 and Teddy Bridgewater in 2014, wherein a club with a need under center trades back into the end of the first round in order to select him, reports Schrager (Twitter link). Any team that does move into the first round for Kizer would have the added benefit of a fifth-year option, enabling them to retain Kizer for a fifth season at a cheap price.
  • One NFL general manager says he’d be “shocked” if Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey isn’t off the board by pick No. 20, tweets Schrager. Last week, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report indicated the Saints, Titans, and Ravens — all of whom pick in the top-20 — could be possible landing spots for Humphrey. Other clubs with picks early in the draft who have a need at corner include the Bills, Cardinals, Eagles, and Redskins.
  • As previous reports have indicated, the Titans are willing to trade out of the No. 5 pick, per Schrager (Twitter link). If Tennessee doesn’t trade away that selection, however, Alabama’s O.J. Howard and Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore will be among the players in consideration at fifth overall. Howard would give the Titans another option at tight end to pair with veteran Delanie Walker, while Lattimore would help fill out one of the league’s worse cornerback units.

NFL Draft Rumors: Mixon, Raiders, Eagles

Is Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon the most talented player in this year’s draft? One nameless personnel executive told Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel he believes that to be the case. The other execs surveyed, naturally, went in different directions. Texas A&M star Myles Garrett got 11 votes, LSU safety Jamal Adams got two, and there was one vote cast for Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas. Unlike the others, Mixon doesn’t necessarily seem likely to go in the first round.

Here’s the latest NFL Draft buzz:

Cole’s Latest: Panthers, Rivera, Watson, King

If the Panthers don’t earn a postseason berth in 2017, head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman could be on the hot seat, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (video link). Carolina, of course, finished the 2016 campaign with a 6-10 record after losing only regular season game and securing a Super Bowl appearance the year prior. Both Rivera and Gettleman are now facing extra pressure, says Cole, which would be one reason the Panthers handed defensive tackle Kawann Short an extension earlier this week, as the club may have wanted to ensure Short was present for offseason activities.

Here’s more from around the league, all courtesy of Cole:

  • Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson displayed a “CEO presence” in predraft meetings with NFL team, and his intangibles are highly impressive to personnel executives, reports Cole (video link), who adds Watson is considered the best leader among the top QB prospects. Listed at 6’2″, 220 pounds, Watson’s size does have some scouts concerned, as they aren’t sure he’ll be able to withstand the pounding of an NFL campaign. For what it’s worth, I sent Watson to Kansas City in PFR’s first 2017 mock draft.
  • Some NFL decision-makers believe Washington cornerback Kevin King is the most overrated player in the 2017 draft, per Cole (video link). King is an impressive physical specimen, especially for a defensive back, as he stands at 6’3″ and 200 pounds. But evaluators don’t believe King’s performance on the field matches his stature. While King has been creeping into the first round of mock drafts — specifically as a possible Seahawks target — one scout said he grades King as no better than a seventh-round choice.
  • As Peter King of TheMMQB.com reported earlier this week, the 49ers and Jets are among the clubs most eager to trade down at the top of the draft, but any such deals could come with a relatively cheap price attached, according to Cole (video link). Outside of Texas A&M edge defender Myles Garrett, the draft doesn’t contain multiple “overwhelming” players, per Cole, while the supply of clubs looking to trade down doesn’t equal the demand of teams hoping to move up.
  • One prospect that could lead to draft-day discussions is Stanford pass rusher Solomon Thomas, whom most NFL clubs consider the “clear” No. 2 player in this year’s class, reports Cole (video link). If the cost of trading up does remain low, several teams might consider moving up the board in order to land Thomas, as such a maneuver would be viewed as an “extraordinary bargain.”

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Jets, Fins, Mixon,

The 49ers are willing to trade the second pick in the draft, which has been the case since at least February. They’ll “listen to anything,” said general manager John Lynch, who revealed that teams have shown interest in acquiring the selection (via Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area). Regardless of whether they trade the choice, the 49ers won’t have top prospects like Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett, Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas or Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey in for pre-draft visits. “I think we know those guys pretty well,” stated Lynch (Twitter link via Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com). They did work out Cal quarterback Davis Webb on Tuesday, per Wagoner. Webb is gaining momentum as a potential first-rounder.

More on the draft:

  • The Jets worked out North Carolina quarterback Mitch Trubisky on March 30, but they’ll take another look at the 22-year-old Thursday in the form of a pre-draft visit, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. There are some members of the organization who are quite bullish on Trubisky, Mehta writes. The quarterback-needy Jets, who are set to pick sixth, have also met twice with Texas Tech signal-caller Patrick Mahomes.
  • With their first-rounder, No. 30, the Steelers plan to select the best defensive back available, says Aditi Kinkhabwala of NFL.com (video link). That could be Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, whom GM Kevin Colbert “loves,” according to Kinkhabwala. Head coach Mike Tomlin said last month that the Steelers need DBs capable of playing man coverage, noting that New England quarterback Tom Brady roasted their secondary in January’s AFC championship game.
  • The Dolphins’ previously reported visit with Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton took place Wednesday, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.The team also hosted Florida linebacker Jarrad Davis, who, like Charlton, is a prospective first-rounder. PFR’s Dallas Robinson currently has Miami taking Charlton at No. 22 overall.
  • Speaking of the Dolphins, they’ll meet with Wisconsin linebacker T.J. Watt this week, and he’ll also visit the Saints, 49ers and Broncos in the coming days, relays Jeremy Bregman of NFL.com. The brother of Texans superstar J.J. Watt may end up coming off the board in Round 1.
  • Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is “absolutely in play” for the Vikings in Round 2 (No. 48 overall), Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller told Matt Vensel, Andrew Krammer and Michael Rand of the Star Tribune. Along with Minnesota, the Saints, Bengals and Raiders have shown the most interest in Mixon, per Miller. The Raiders seem like a curious fit, though, given Mixon’s past and owner Mark Davis’ zero tolerance policy regarding domestic violence.