During the pre-draft process leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft, some draft analysts, including ESPN’s Louis Riddick, believed that Thomas was a better prospect than number one pick and Cleveland Browns pass rusher Myles Garrett. Now just two years later, he may be out of place along the San Francisco 49ers defensive front.
This offseason, the Niners have traded for former Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl pass rusher Dee Ford and given him a massive contract extension. With just one week before the draft, San Francisco also looks primed to take Ohio State pass rusher Nick Bosa with the second overall pick.
Already with All-Pro DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead along the defensive front as well, the Niners simply have too many bodies, and Thomas is the odd man out. The Niners are also without a fifth round pick in the draft this year, and while it will take more draft capital than a day-three pick to acquire Thomas, that may be the place to start for a team like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Switching to a 3-4 defensive front, Thomas would be an ideal candidate to replace Gerald McCoy, who looks to have one foot out of the door already, as the second interior defensive end opposite Jason Pierre-Paul in Tampa Bay. With three years still on his rookie deal, putting in a phone call to the Niners about the former third overall pick in 2017 would be a wise decision for the Buccaneers.