Cleveland Browns should call the 49ers about DL Solomon Thomas
Adding to the defensive line is a priority for the Cleveland Browns this off-season and should consider adding Solomon Thomas to their defensive end stable.
Entering the off-season, it was clear the Cleveland Browns needed to build up the depth and overall talent of their defensive line. Because of the lack of depth on the defensive line in 2018, the group did not have a consistent presence in opposing backfields, creating a lot of problems for the entire defense.
After two weeks of the league year being open, Browns general manager John Dorsey has already accomplished his goal of building up the defensive front. Since the league year opened on March 13, he has traded for defensive end Olivier Vernon and defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
But even with those additions, the Browns should still look at adding more talent to the group. And they could use more help on the inside and outside of the defensive line, so they do not have to be picky of who they could potentially add.
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If the Browns want a young, and cheaper defensive lineman compared to seasoned veterans, one player they could pursue is San Francisco 49ers defensive linemen Solomon Thomas, who is entering his third season in the league.
Thomas was a highly touted prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft and was selected third overall by the 49ers. In his junior season at Stanford, Thomas made 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. However, despite being projected as an all-around defensive lineman coming out of Stanford, Thomas has not shown anything close to the player the 49ers expected he would be.
The 49ers have used the 23-year-old up and down their defensive line, but have not seen good results from him anywhere. Thomas has played 30 games in his career, including 25 starts, but has only made 72 total tackles, 13 tackles for loss, four sacks, and 17 quarterback hits.
San Francisco has built up their defensive line over the past several seasons and added even more talent this off-season. The 49ers landed one of the best pass rushers in the NFL, Dee Ford, in a trade this off-season. And San Francisco is expected to select either Nick Bosa or Quinnen Williams in the 2019 NFL Draft.
With the 49ers still adding to their defensive line, they are expected to move Thomas at some point instead of keeping him on the roster and hoping he develops into the player they hoped he would be. But with his lack of production, it may be hard for them to get more than a mid-round pick in return.
If Dorsey is serious about building up the Browns’ defensive line, he should at least make a call to San Francisco about a potential Thomas trade. If the Browns can land Thomas for a fourth or fifth round selection, there would not be as much pressure on them if Thomas never develops into a top-tier defensive linemen compared to if the 49ers kept him on their roster.
Thomas could also thrive without having to deal with the pressure of being the “bust” in San Francisco. If he became a Cleveland Brown, he could shed the label of being a wasted pick and instead focus on becoming the best player he could be without the pressure of trying to live up to his draft status.
Also, if the Browns added Thomas and put him around talented players like Vernon and Myles Garrett, it could potentially help him in his development. With more eyes on Thomas, there is the potential of them seeing problems in his game, causing his lack of success. And if he is able to show something with the Browns, they could move on from Vernon and his $15.5 million cap hit in 2020.
Because the Browns are in win-now mode, there is not a need for them to use all eight of their selections in the 2019 NFL Draft on rookies. Instead, they should consider moving those picks around and supplement the players currently on their roster with veterans.
If the 49ers are not asking for a huge return for Thomas, the Browns should seriously consider adding him as a third or fourth defensive linemen. He has shown the versatility to play inside and outside on the defensive line, so the Browns could use him anywhere on the line.
Although he is labeled as a bust right now, the Browns could take the chance on him figuring things out and becoming the pass rusher the 49ers hoped he would become. If things work out, the Browns would add a young pass rusher who could become a cornerstone on their defensive line. If Thomas still does not develop in Cleveland, the Browns would only lose a mid-round selection for a reserve lineman.