No. 2: Defensive End Solomon Thomas
In 2017, the 49ers were playing their top pick from that year’s NFL Draft, defensive end Solomon Thomas, out of position. That was a pretty good excuse for the underperformance. A year later, Thomas was dealing with the tragic and premature passing of his sister, Ella, which understandably had an effect on his on-field efforts.
In 2019, Thomas was scheduled to be a big part of a revamped Niners defensive line, potentially just coming off the bench, but at least being expected to provide some serious reserve thump.
Well, that didn’t happen, either.
Thomas did appear in just over 41 percent of defensive snaps this season, suggesting he was a key part of the rotation, also made necessary by the slew of injuries San Francisco suffered up front. During this time, though, he registered a mere 21 tackles and two sacks. His pass-rush productivity mark of 3.8 also ranked fourth among all interior 49ers defenders, too, according to Pro Football Focus.
The lack of production will force the Niners hand, likely making re-signing or franchise tagging defensive tackle Arik Armstead, who had 10 sacks in 2019, a top priority this offseason.