The NY Giants are in the early stages of a rebuild under first-year general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll.
It might take years to correct the mistakes left behind by former GM Dave Gettleman, who seemingly did more harm than good over his four-year stint in East Rutherford, but a lot of his fingerprints remain on the Giants’ current roster.
While Schoen and Daboll clearly have their own philosophy in terms of how they want to cultivate New York’s roster, they luckily don’t have to build everything from the ground up. From Xavier McKinney, Leonard Williams, Andrew Thomas and Azeez Ojulari, Gettleman didn’t leave the new regime completely hopeless.
With ample young talent and several grizzled vets, who exactly is the one player the Giants can’t afford to lose? According to Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports, Thomas is that player for the G-Men.
CBS Sports has high praise for Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas.
Benjamin explored every team’s non-quarterback they can’t afford to lose, so you can imagine how many superstars made the list alongside Thomas. From Micah Parsons, Travis Kelce, Myles Garrett, Deebo Samuel, Aaron Donald, TJ Watt, Justin Jefferson and Derrick Henry, the list is endless.
Even more impressive? Thomas was one of several offensive tackles who cracked Benjamin’s distinguished list. With left tackle being the second or third-most important position behind QB, it’s clear Benjamin views Thomas as the Giants’ long term solution at LT after his representative sophomore year.
Here’s what Benjamin said of Thomas.
"So much of the Giants’ 2022 season depends on the development of QB Daniel Jones, who has a new coach in Brian Daboll. And while Thomas isn’t yet an elite lineman, his growth as a second-year starter confirms he’s got Pro Bowl upside. As the chief blind-side protector of Jones, his loss would force rookie RT Evan Neal into a high-pressure job."
Tough to disagree with that analysis! After struggling to find his footing as a rookie, the former No. 4 overall pick was lights-out in Year 2. Objectively speaking, Thomas was one of the best pass-blocking OL in the game, allowing just 18 pressures and two sacks over 517 pass-blocking snaps, according to PFF.
While the Giants have several building blocks, Thomas was the only choice for the player the team can’t afford to lose. While McKinney, drafted the same year as Thomas, has shown more than the young lineman over a two-year sample size, the fact Thomas plays left tackle gives him the edge over the budding safety.
With an inconsistent 2021, the likes of McKinney and even Ojulari could leapfrog Thomas for this honorable title. For now, though, the former Georgia star should be regarded as the Giants’ top building block moving forward.