The 49ers have been busy the past week, adding a new draft class and signing 18 undrafted free agents.
Now the team will get its first look at its young additions in the rookie minicamp that begins Friday at team facilities in Santa Clara.
It also will be the Niners’ first – and only chance, for a while – to see No. 1 draft choice Solomon Thomas in uniform. Thomas, the defensive end from Stanford who was the third overall pick in last week’s NFL draft, will have a chance to be on the field, meet his teammates and coaches and begin work toward his rookie season. But as Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com notes, Thomas won’t be able to take part in other 49ers offseason programs for a while, until Stanford ends its school year. It’s a repeat of 2016, when the 49ers also had to wait on another first-round pick from Stanford, guard Joshua Garnett. Garnett couldn’t join the 49ers until late June’s three-day mandatory minicamp. Until then, Garnett had to study the playbook, talk with teammates on the offensive line and work out on his own to stay ready.
After this weekend, Thomas will have to do the same thing, and he says he’ll tap into Garnett for help.
“I will be talking with Joshua and other guys on the team,” Thomas told Wagoner. “Talking to the coaches as much as I can to learn as much as I can while I’m away, while I can’t be at the facility. So, I’m going to do whatever I can to just continue to learn and get better while I’m away, but still try to do my best to be here in some way.”
The 49ers hope Thomas can get rolling this summer and make his presence felt in training camp. In 2017, he could be one of three No. 1 draft picks over the past three seasons – along with Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner – to anchor the line in a new 4-3 defensive front.