Andrew Thomas 'excited' Isaiah Wilson, former Georgia teammate, was brought in by Giants

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Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson blocking Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Darrell Taylor in 2019
Georgia Bulldogs offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson blocking Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Darrell Taylor in 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson anchored a powerful offensive line for two years at Georgia. And Thomas, the Giants’ starting left tackle, is looking forward to seeing if they can recapture that magic again.

They are a long way from that, but the Giants signed the talented but troubled Wilson to their practice squad on Thursday. It was a low-risk move, but a bit of a desperate one for a team beset by injuries to offensive linemen. The 6-foot-6, 350-pound tackle has obvious upside, but two teams have already given up on him in the 17 months since he became a first-round draft pick.

Still, Thomas endorsed the move and said he’s “excited” his old friend might get another shot.

“Great kid,” Thomas said. “Definitely talented. I’m excited to see what he does. Glad they’re giving him a chance. I’m looking forward to seeing what he’s done. He had some time off away from football to get his stuff together. So I’m excited to be able to work with him and trying to help bring him along.”

It wasn’t clear Wilson, a 22-year-old from Brooklyn, would ever get another chance in the NFL after he was cut in March by the Miami Dolphins, just three days after they traded a seventh-round pick to get him from the Tennessee Titans. It was bad enough that the Titans dumped him less than a year after making him the 29th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. But after his trade, he was reportedly late for his physical and skipped some meetings.

Wilson also has several run-ins with police on his resume, including a DUI charge and a felony charge from a separate reckless driving incident where he led police on a high-speed chase with marijuana in his car.

Giants head coach Joe Judge wouldn’t address those issues, or Wilson specifically, at his news conference before practice on Wednesday. But he made it clear that he’s not opposed to giving a troubled player a fresh start.

“I have a lot of trust in the program we have here, to put people in position to be successful,” Judge said. “I don’t think there is a blanket of what someone else has done with someone that has to tie into how they do successfully for you. I think there’s a point in time when everybody needs a fresh start. I think if you treat everyone on an individual basis and understand the person and you address someone as a person in terms of what’s best for that guy to help get them on their straight and narrow, then they have a chance for success.”

The question with Wilson may be about how willing he is to accept that help from the Giants. Before the Dolphins waived him three days after trading for him in March, they reportedly attempted to offer Wilson help for his many issues. He refused, which was when they decided to move on.

Thomas said he’s heard all about what’s happened to Wilson since his Georgia days, and it doesn’t sound like that’s the player or person he knew.

“Yeah, I was surprised,” Thomas said. “(It’s been) sad things for him. But he’s had some time off. Hopefully he’s got his stuff together. I’m excited for him to get another chance.”

Thomas said he’d be willing to help Wilson out, whether it’s with the playbook, learning his way around the Giants facility, or “just trying to be here for him if he needs anything.”

The Giants will clearly try to help him, too, because if they can help him turn his life around they will have added a very big piece to the rebuilding of their offensive line. He is primarily a right tackle, which is an unsettled position for the Giants. The job was supposed to go to second-year pro Matt Peart, but he lost it to veteran Nate Solder. Wilson could eventually earn that spot.

He certainly has the ability to do that. Thomas described Wilson as a “great player, very talented. I haven’t seen too many guys that big that can move that well. I’m excited to see what he can do.”

The on-field part, though, won’t be his biggest challenge. His tenure with the Giants will be more about whether he can stay out of trouble off the field, and how well he can do in a program run by a very strict coach like Judge.

“I’ve got no problem with personalities,” Judge said. “A lot of people don’t like my personality. I can deal with pretty much anybody. I’ve got an eclectic group of friends. I can pretty much deal with anybody as long as they’re themselves and they’re honest and, in this setting, that they love football. So if you meet those three things -- If you’re an honest person, if you’re going to be yourself on a daily basis, and you love football -- yeah I’ll be able to deal with you, no problem.”