Mock draft experts expect 49ers to take Stanford star at No. 2
A surprise candidate has emerged as the trendy prediction on what the 49ers will do with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas is expected to be selected by the 49ers by nine of 17 major mock drafts.
Many of the experts pointed to new 49ers general manager John Lynch’s defensive focus and connection with Stanford, his alma mater. That said, Lynch does not plan to attend Stanford’s pro day Thursday and still has the 49ers’ last two first-round picks, both defensive lineman, around.
Thomas had 8.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss last season, including a sack in the Sun Bowl.
Here’s a look at what the experts said, and who picked other players;
Todd McShay of ESPN picked Thomas: “With a good combination of quickness and power, Thomas would be a good fit for the defense Robert Saleh hopes to build out West.”
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com picked Thomas: “Thomas has the versatility to play up and down the line of scrimmage, and he seems like a perfect match for what John Lynch is trying to build.”
Bucky Brooks of NFL.com picked Thomas: “The 49ers don’t need another big body in the middle, but Thomas is the top player on the board and gives them another disruptive defender to anchor an emerging defense.”
Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com picked Thomas: “From a needs standpoint, Solomon Thomas makes much more sense for the 49ers anyway. They need an edge rusher in the worst way possible, and Thomas fits their new 4-3 defense perfectly.”
Luke Easterling of USA Today picked Thomas: “Don’t be surprised if the 49ers pass on the top quarterbacks for a powerful edge defender who helps their scheme transition.”
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports picked Thomas: “Yes, there is the Stanford connection with general manager John Lynch, but more importantly, Thomas is an excellent football player who adds immediate pass rush help on the defensive line.”
Pete Prisco of CBS Sports picked Thomas: “There are a lot of scouts who think this will happen, even though the 49ers need a quarterback. Thomas can be special.”
Rob Rang of CBS Sports picked Thomas: “Sandwiched between massive defensive ends DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead and new defensive tackle Earl Mitchell, he could give the 49ers the dominant defensive line to compete in the NFC West, with the need at quarterback more likely to be addressed with a veteran.”
Jared Dubin of CBS Sports picked Thomas: “Between the Stanford connection, Thomas’ athletic testing at the combine, and all the noise around Thomas heading to San Francisco, this seems like where the No. 2 pick is heading.”