If there’s one thing Stanford defensive end and potential top 10 draft pick Solomon Thomas made clear at the NFL Combine, it’s that he’s confident.
Though he played in a 3-4 defense in college, Thomas doesn’t believe he needs to play in the same scheme at the NFL level. The Bengals, who use a 4-3 scheme, have been a frequent mock draft destination for the Stanford product.
“It really doesn’t matter,” Thomas said at the Combine. “I can beef up and be that 3-4 defensive end, or slide down to a ‘3’ if they go to an over front. I can also be a 4-3 defensive end and still move down to that ‘3’ technique. I can move outside if you want me to. I’ll play wherever they need me to. I can play ‘em all.”
Thomas not only believes that he can play in any type of system at the NFL level, but that he can play every down and that his versatility should be something NFL teams enjoy. And though there's been some questions as to whether he's big enough to play on the inside, Thomas doesn't seem to see that as an issue.
“I can rush anywhere,” Thomas said. “I can play anywhere. I play every down. I’m great stopping the run, great rushing the quarterback. I’m very versatile. I have toughness. I try to get after every (offensive) lineman and put the fear of God in them and make a play. I’m just trying to get to the quarterback every play and be destructful and wreak havoc.”
At the combine, he ran a 4.69 second 40-yard dash, completed 30 reps in the bench press, had a 35.0 inch vertical jump, a 10'6" broad jump, finished the 3-cone drill in 6.95 seconds and the 20-yard shuttle in 4.28 seconds. He also measured as 6'2", 273 pounds, had 9 3/8" hands, 33" arms and a 78 7/8" wingspan.
Moving forward, Thomas said he believes proving himself to NFL teams is the biggest thing he needs to do.
“Just prove to them because I didn’t rush a lot from the edge in college, but proving I can do that, prove to them that I’m effective enough to do that. Hopefully I’ll be able to do that here (at the Combine) and at my Pro Day,” he said.
Stanford’s Pro Day is on March 23. Thomas was also asked if he considers himself a tweener, which he didn't exactly answer, but implied that he does.
“I don’t take that as a bad thing,” Thomas said. “I take it as any team can draft me. I’m not labeled to a 4-3; I’m not labeled to a 3-4 team. I can play any system team and I can play any position on the D-line.”
Even though it was reported that some NFL scouts don’t believe Thomas is worthy of a top 10 pick in the first round pick, after the Combine, it seems highly likely he is a top 10 pick, and he may not even make it to the Bengals’ pick at No. 9 overall.