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Fan draft choice: Solomon Thomas

Posted Feb 14, 2017

Who should the Panthers select with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft? We examine the fan responses.

Who should the Panthers select with the eighth overall pick in the 2017 draft? We're examining the fan responses on Twitter. Next up is Stanford defensive end Solomon Thomas.

Why it makes sense: Solomon Thomas has what it takes to be a three-down defensive end in the NFL, and his athleticism and tenacity makes the former Stanford Cardinal a top-tier prospect. To quote NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein, “Thomas has the potential to be the best defender from this draft class.”

Thomas (6-foot-3, 273 pounds) is strong enough to hold up against the run in a 4-3 scheme and he’s proven he can get to the quarterback with a variety of pass-rush moves (15 tackles for loss and eight sacks as a junior in 2016).

It’s also important to consider the decisions the Panthers have to make at the defensive end spot, with Mario Addison, Charles Johnson and Wes Horton all set to hit free agency.

My two cents: It’s very early in the process of course, but Thomas might well be in the conversation for best player available when the Panthers are on the clock. Anyone who follows this team knows general manager Dave Gettleman is committed to the BPA approach.

The Panthers finished second in the NFL with 47 sacks, but a young pass-rusher would help Carolina generate more pressure with its front four, and that’s when the defense is at its best.