The NY Giants’ options are bountiful when it comes to the #4 overall draft selection, but left tackle Andrew Thomas just might make the most sense.
I’ve mentioned this before, but Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas falling down draft boards – after the season when no more games have been played – in one of the silliest things I’ve seen in quite some time. Hopefully, Dave Gettleman and the NY Giants don’t pay any attention to mock drafts and draft analysts.
Thomas is a two-time All-American and was considered a lock top-five draft pick and the number-one overall offensive line prospects all season long. Even before the combine, his ranking amongst the ‘experts’ somehow fell all the way to OT4, with none of said experts giving a rational explanation as to why they had him ranked so highly all season only to drop him out of nowhere.
I’ll give you the reason; draft analysis and mock drafts are a huge business, and if they were just to keep releasing the same rankings, no one would be interested. So, every year guys like Andrew Thomas fall victim to this business and see their stock plummet.
In my mind, Thomas doesn’t have much to worry about, as NFL GM’s and scouting departments are smarter – for the most part – than to fall for things like this. They’re going to judge Thomas off of his film, and his film is spectacular.
In one of the most mind-boggling statistics you’ll ever hear, Thomas allowed just 37-total pressures in 38 careers games according to Pro Football Focus — that’s right, less than a pressure per game in by far and away the most elite level of play in college football.
The 6’5 320 pound tackle did some of his best work against some of the toughest competition, as he was able to neutralize potential first-round edge rushers K’Lavon Chaisson and Julian Okwara against LSU and Notre Dame in 2019, respectively.
Another positive in Thomas’ draft profile is that Georgia plays in one of the most pro-style offenses in all of college football. His skillset should easily acclimate to the NFL, as he was playing on a pro-level offense and playing against teams littered with NFL draft picks week in and week out.
With solid size, terrific feet, and refined technique, there are few – if any – holes to poke in Thomas’ game. Still, this is a long process and analysts will do anything they can to attempt to be the one that finds some supposed flaw in a player’s game.
Thomas’ stock hasn’t seemed to change much after the combine, as he did mostly what everyone expected him to. In most years, his athleticism would be marveled at, but when he’s matched up with the athletic freaks that make up the top of this offensive tackle class, he fails to stand out. However, let me know when offensive lineman run 40 yards down the field in a straight line and I’ll start worrying more about it.
His 5.2 40 time at 320 pounds was not bad by any measure, it just paled in comparison to Tristan Wirfs’ 4.8 and Mekhi Becton’s 5.1 at 370 pounds.
The NY Giants have only drafted two offensive tackles in the last twenty years, and that’s if you count Justin Pugh, who played guard for the majority of his Big Blue career. The offensive line, in general, has been filled with too many late-round picks and stopgap type players. It’s time to finally address the most important position on the line in a meaningful way.
Selecting Andrew Thomas would fit that bill. Now, if Big Blue can find a way to trade down into the 5-9 range and still land Thomas — all the better. Right now, that seems to be a likely scenario after teams are surely falling more in love with guys like Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, and Tristan Wirfs after their impressive combine performances.
As we’ve seen with the failures of Nate Solder, having a competent left tackle is often the backbone of an NFL offense. Now, it hurts a QB just as much to get hit from their right side as if it comes from their left, but since most QB’s are righties having that extra .5 seconds to see it coming makes left tackles more valuable.
If the Giants choose to keep Solder on the roster for 2020, that’s fine. What they can’t do, however, is be short-sighted (again) and avoid taking a left tackle because he’s still on the roster. With the NY Giants not true contenders in the grand scheme of the 2020 NFL season, this pick needs to be about the next 5-10 years, not just this upcoming one.
Dave Gettleman can possibly outsmart the rest of the league and take the true best offensive lineman in the draft and might be able to do so while accumulating extra draft assets.
This should be the plan and scenario ‘A’ for the NY Giants.