San Francisco

Niners May be Without Top Draft Pick to Start Camp

Former Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas remains unsigned; a lengthy holdout could jeopardize his rookie season

Solomon Thomas has made all the right moves this offseason. He’s been a part of the 49ers’ offseason program, working to get ready for his first NFL season since being taken No. 3 overall in the draft. He’s also put time in on his own with pass-rushing greats DeMarcus Ware, Warren Sapp and Von Miller, learning techniques and soaking up tips.

Yet when the Niners report for training camp Friday, it doesn’t appear Thomas will be among his teammates.

Thomas, the former Stanford standout defensive end, remains unsigned. It appears his rookie season may get off to a slow start unless he and the team can quickly hash out an agreement on his deal.

Thomas is the team’s only pick who has yet to sign and as of Thursday morning was one of just three first-round choices in this draft to not yet sign. As Chris Biderman of the Niners Wire noted this week, Thomas is represented by the same agency that represented defensive end Joey Bosa, the No. 1 pick of the Chargers last season, who held out until the end of August. Bosa, who then had a hamstring issue, came on strong over the second half of the season but missed four games.

As Billy Kerr of SB Nation wrote this week, “The longer he (Thomas) is unsigned, the likelihood of him missing a starting spot increases.”

New 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh sees Thomas as a movable, versatile player capable of playing both defensive end and tackle, depending on the situation. He and fellow top picks of recent drafts, Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, could provide the Niners with one of the youngest and most talented defensive fronts in the division, but working together over a full training camp certainly would help.

San Francisco’s first exhibition game is scheduled for Aug. 11 in Kansas City vs. the Chiefs.

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