SF 49ers: 5 players who must bounce back in Week 2 vs. Jets

Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
Dante Pettis #18 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) /
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SF 49ers, Solomon Thomas
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – Solomon Thomas #94 of the San Francisco 49ers and Rashod Hill #69 of the Minnesota Vikings (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

No. 4: SF 49ers DL Solomon Thomas must prove he can play in the NFL

My third article at Niner Noise and FanSided was an April 2017 piece titled 2017 NFL Draft: 49ers Win First Round of Draft After Trade with Bears.


This article came on the heels of my inaugural FanSided editorial, “Why the 49ers Won’t Draft LSU RB Leonard Fournette. Looking back, my analysis was sound, and thankfully for the SF 49ers, my prediction was correct.

My follow-up piece “GM John Lynch Positions 49ers to Trade No. 2 Pick” was posted hours before the 2017 NFL Draft. My prediction and breakdown were based solely on historical trends, draft value, strategy, and the common sense previous SF 49ers general managers lacked — and was written without any inside information.

Despite being a proponent of process over results, being correct felt pretty good — until I ruined it all with the above piece, which I wrote at a time before we were aware of general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s drafting deficiencies.

The first-round draft pick exchange ended up being a failure for both teams, but at least the Chicago Bears were only forced to deal with one bad selection. Although the trade was initially bountiful for the Niners, it sparked a flurry of poor trades and draft picks for San Francisco.

The SF 49ers’ mistakes began with the selection of Lynch’s classmate and expensive first-round bust, Solomon Thomas, who will soon be focused on finding a team willing to provide a minimal contract to the unproductive defensive lineman once he’s released by the SF 49ers after the season’s end.

For those confused about Thomas’s Week-1 status since he didn’t show up on the stat sheet, the lineman was on the field for 47 total snaps, yet managed to recorded fewer tackles than the 49ers’ punter, long-snapper, and third-string tight end.

The SF 49ers Draft Trade Problems

To make matters worse, Lynch and Shanahan wasted the vast majority of the valuable draft capital they gained from the trade, and combined with numerous head-scratching transactions, soon had very little to show from the draft-trade obsession which still plagues the team’s front office.

The 49ers doubled down on their first 2017 first-round bust mistake by trading up for linebacker Reuben Foster, who managed to play just 16 games before being released from the team due to numerous ongoing indiscretions.

San Francisco then promptly executed another draft-pick trade with the New Orleans Saints, who used the SF Niners’ selection to draft All-Pro running back Alvin Kamara. In the end, the Niners would be forced to give up a considerable amount of compensation, including draft capital obtained in exchange for the Kamara pick, and a pair of selections which the Washington Football Team turned into starters, for the opportunity to draft wide receiver bust Dante Pettis. The team also ended up with two additional defensive backs who no longer play for the team.

Lynch and Shanahan were far from finished, as they paid dearly to draft third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard and bust running back Joe Williams, to allow  Shanahan to sleep soundly in the future.

I could continue, but instead, I wish Thomas, who’s faced unbearable tragedy in recent years, the best of luck in his career wherever he lands next season. Hopefully, in the limited amount of time he had left in the Bay Area, the defensive lineman will increase his market value by contributing to the SF 49ers’ defense on Sunday and over the remainder of the 2020 NFL season.