No. 2: Defensive End Solomon Thomas
Perhaps, like Bearhard, the Niners’ commitment to Thomas was merely due to the notable investment the team made in him during the 2017 NFL Draft. Beathard was Kyle Shanahan’s first quarterback selected, while Thomas was the first player taken, going at No. 3 overall.
There’s no getting around the fact San Francisco will never reap the full reward from this investment. After two-plus years, even amid poor positioning and personal tragedy, the 49ers have accept Thomas is a good player, at best. Nothing more.
That’s OK, of course. But the Niners have to ask themselves whether or not he’s worth keeping around. Granted, there are a lot of other factors here. One of them is whether or not San Francisco is able to re-sign pending free-agent defensive tackle Arik Armstead this offseason. If he walks, there’s a better chance Thomas, still on his rookie contract, sticks around.
Then again, the 49ers might see more potential from some of the team’s other reserve defensive linemen, players like Jullian Taylor or Kentavius Street. There’s always the possibility another player, unknown in 2019, winds up becoming a storyline in 2020 training camp or the preseason, too.
Any one of those scenarios could push Thomas out of the picture.