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Profiling the Prospects: The rise of Stanford's Solomon Thomas

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Over the next month, ClevelandBrowns.com will break down some of the best players in this year's NFL Draft class and what they could bring to Cleveland's youth-laden roster.*

Name:DL Solomon Thomas, Stanford

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 273 pounds

What makes him a first-round pick?

At the NFL's annual scouting combine earlier this month, Solomon Thomas said it was his intention to "strike the fear of god" into opposing offensive linemen.

And the Stanford standout can walk the talk.

Thomas, a two year-starter and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year, finished a breakout 2016 season with 61 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. That production, plus an unusual blend of size and athleticism, has helped him rocket up mock draft boards.

NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote the following about Thomas:  

"Explosive defender who combines strength, quickness, and a muscle-car motor to drive him around the field making play after play. Has the hands and feet to be a quick-win specialist and the size to fit as a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive end who can reduce inside for pass-rush downs. He has all the athletic traits to become a high-impact player and possesses more than enough skill and talent to believe he will continue to elevate his game as a pro. Thomas has the potential to become the best defender from this draft class and a future all-pro."

SolomonThomas.jpg

Biggest college moment?

With a national audience watching, Thomas turned heads and opened eyes at the Sun Bowl against North Carolina, recording seven tackles, two TFLs and a sack. Moreover, he was just flat out disruptive and applied plenty of pressure on Tar Heels quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, a fellow potential first-round draft pick.

How did he do at the combine?

Thomas has been rising up draft boards since he declared for the draft, and the combine helped put an exclamation mark of sorts on that dynamic. He ran a 4.69-second 40-yard dash, recorded 30 reps on the bench press and was top five in the broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and three-cone drill.

Quote to know

"I can rush anywhere. I can play anywhere. I play every down. I'm great stopping the run, great rushing the quarterback. I'm very versatile. I have toughness. I try to get after every lineman and put the fear of God in them and make a play. I'm just trying to get to the quarterback

every play and be destructful and wreak havoc."

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Why he would make sense for the Browns?**

Thomas is among the top prospects in a deep and talented class of defensive linemen that includes Texas A&M's Myles Garrett and Alabama's Jonathan Allen. And as the Browns look to bolster their pass rush, he would appear to have the skill set to help Cleveland do just that. Moreover, Thomas' size and speed make him a versatile player that could play multiple roles in new coordinator Gregg Williams' defense.

Reasons why he won't be available at No. 12?

The 49ers. Draft analysts — including NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, CBSSports.com's Dane Brugler and ESPN's Todd McShay — say Thomas will stay put in the Bay Area with the second overall pick.

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