Thomas is expected to play defensive end on early downs and tackle on passing downs in 2018, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee reports.
Thomas was eased into NFL play during 2017, and a midseason knee injury didn't help his cause. Regardless, the 2017 first-round pick made 41 tackles (34 solo) and three sacks in his rookie campaign. The new role should help him stay on the field for all three downs and hopefully fire up his stat line. Most importantly, the 49ers hope Thomas can develop into the pass rusher who racked up eight sacks in his final season at Stanford.