The 49ers did not exactly get their return on investment with the former No. 3 overall draft pick Solomon Thomas.
But the team hopes that more playing time will help the choice of the first round of 2017 to reach its potential.
The 49ers are going to need the defensive lineman to step up in 2020 to help fill the void left in DeForest Buckner’s trade with the Indianapolis Colts.
“Solomon Thomas is a guy we felt well played in a role last year,” said general manager John Lynch in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “We think this role will expand. “
After starting 25 games in total in his first two seasons, Thomas played 16 games last season but only started three. The 24-year-old has six bags in total in his first three seasons.
Thomas’ number of shots went from 62% and 60% in the first two seasons to 41% in 2019, according to Pro Football Reference.
Thomas is not the only Lynch player and the 49ers are counting on.
“Obviously, D.J. Jones is a guy we are very passionate about,” said Lynch. “Unfortunately, he had an ankle sprain that sent him to IR and we weren’t able to push our playoffs and run with him, so we are extremely excited. He works very hard to get him back. “
“Kevin Givens and Jullian Taylor, Kentavius Street, all of these guys had some form or mode of injury, but this is the kind of group we work with. We looked at some things during free will. Nothing really materialized. So this is the group over there. We’ll see where it goes, but that’s who we’re working with at this point. “
[[[[RELATED: Lynch says Buckner’s trade was the hardest move]
The 49ers could add a defensive lineman to the mix in the NFL draft this week, but since they have more needs, the guys they have may be the group that shows up if / when camp training begins.
For Thomas, this may be an opportunity for him to prove himself.