PFF was wrong in listing Solomon Thomas as the worst choice
The folks at Pro Football Focus thought Solomon Thomas was the 49ers’ worst pick in the NFL Draft since 2006, but that’s an obvious mistake.
There might be a recency bias here, but Pro Football Focus might want to rethink some of the busts from the San Francisco 49ers’ NFL Draft over the century.
In a recent breakdown of the teams’ worst draft picks dating back to 2006, PFF deemed the Niners’ top pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas, was the worst the franchise has done during that time.
Understandable. But incorrect.
Thomas should be considered a bust of San Francisco. The top five players in the draft should be the lifeblood of any franchise, whether they are perennial pro Bowlers or players who end up starting key roles for a team for more than six years.
Thomas was drafted as an edge rusher although he never played there at Stanford. While he dominated against the run for the Cardinal, he did so while mostly penetrating a 3-way technique. He looked like a fish out of water for the 49ers and never got a passing grade. greater than 58.3.
While it’s fair to suggest that the 49ers have done Thomas a few favors by playing him out of position – on the outside for much of his four-year tenure instead of on the inside – it will be nearly impossible for him. to shake up that nickname “bust”.
Thomas left the Niners for Las Vegas Raiders in NFL free agency in 2021.
AJ Jenkins, not Solomon Thomas, was 49ers’ worst pick in NFL Draft since 2006
It’s possible that PFF’s Michael Renner, who wrote the article, wasn’t quite in tune with some of San Francisco’s previous blunders in the 2000s NFL Draft. Defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer , selected 29th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft, passed away after three seasons. He should have received some consideration.
But the clear “winner” of that PFF designation should have been none other than the wide receiver from Illinois. AJ Jenkins.
Jenkins, selected No. 30 in the 2021 NFL Draft, should never have been a first-round selection. Perhaps an experimental third-round pick at best, but nothing more.
Instead, then-GM Trent Baalke kicked off the 2012 49ers draft class with Jenkins, and that whole class has to be seen as one of the worst in recent Niners history.
Thomas, meanwhile, has at least completed the full four years of his tenure in San Francisco, seeing his rookie contract. And while he never became the prolific passer the 49ers hoped for, at least Thomas ended up being a good shot and a solid reserve rotation player.
Jenkins, meanwhile, only played three games in his one-year Niners career, was targeted once and gave up that pass.
Read more: 10 top 49ers draft picks who never failed
And that’s all. San Francisco moved it via trade the next offseason.
It should be pretty straightforward. Thomas stayed on for four years, while Jenkins’ career with the 49ers came to an end after just one disappointing season. For the sake of longevity, Jenkins’ career never reached four years.
Thomas had it beaten there too.
Granted, that’s not to say that Thomas was a great choice that just never failed. This selection at No. 3 overall still hurts, and you could say it put the Niners back by at least a few years.
Still, Jenkins was truly a non-impacting player, and fans who remember the pick won’t soon forget him.
Even if they would like to.