The Stanford defensive tackle was a tidal wave against North Carolina, helping the Cardinal beat the Tar Heels 25-23 and give Stanford a 10-win season. Thomas had shown dominating performances before, namely a 12-tackle effort against Notre Dame, but the Sun Bowl performance helped push his draft stock up.
My guess is April 27, 2017 supersedes that now, when the San Francisco 49ers chose Solomon Thomas in the NFL Draft with the third selection, joining 2016 first round selection Joshua Garnett as first round Niners.
Thomas wrapped up his 2016 season with a team-leading 61 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks, where he was an All-Pac-12 selection, all while playing undersized (270 pounds) for his true position of defensive tackle. He was rated as the nation’s top run defender by Pro Football Focus and top-ten in pass defense for defensive linemen.
They compare Thomas to Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett and give this breakdown for the Stanford people-mover:
Thomas was dominant this season as shown by his No. 1 run-defense grade (92.0) and No. 6 pass-rushing grade (86.9) among FBS interior defensive linemen. Thomas has been highly productive the last two seasons but has followed a natural skill development progression as he was first a solid run defender and then made an ever-increasing contribution as a pass-rusher. Thomas’s pass-rushing productivity rating of 8.7 ranked No. 5 among Power-5 defensive tackles. Thomas has experience playing in the interior of the defensive line but only weighs 270 pounds so he isn’t exactly the ideal size to play inside in the NFL but his experience inside and his proven ability to hold up makes him an ideal candidate to play base defensive end and then a player who can shift inside to defensive tackle in sub-package situations. If nickel is the new base, then Thomas’ ability to stop the run plus rush the passer from inside or outside will make him a highly coveted player in the draft.