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When the New York Giants selected Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, they felt they were getting the most pro-ready prospect at his position in the class.
As we now know, things didn’t turn out that way. Thomas was a mess early on, giving up pressure after pressure and way too many sacks. The word ‘bust’ was being bandied about. Many felt the Giants should have used the pick to enter trade down for more draft capital or selected another tackle such as Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton or Jedrick Wills Jr.
In a recent article, Anthony Treash of Pro Football Focus said he believes Thomas will over come his erratic start and become a viable player.
What went wrong in 2020: Thomas slotted in second-to-last in pass-blocking grade among left tackles in 2020. He gave up 14 more pressures (57) than any left tackle in the league and also surrendered more sacks (10) than anyone at the position. Thomas allowed four or more pressures in over half of his games this season. Early on in the season, he was getting impatient and would immediately pop out of his stance. The fourth overall pick overall had exceptionally poor timing, and that led to a lot of lost reps.
Why they are going to break out in 2021: Things did take a turn for the better for Thomas in the middle of the year. While he was still imperfect, we weren’t seeing him extend on his punch in pass protection as often as he was before. He was more patient with it. That played a significant part in his pass-blocking grade jumping from 45.3 through Week 7 to 63.5 from Week 8 on.
Treash went on to note that many top NFL tackles has rough rookie campaigns such as Philadelphia’s Lane Johnson in 2013, so there is hope that Thomas can still live up to his pedigree.
Thomas’ slow start to his career was one of the many issues the Giants encountered on the offensive line this year. They played the entire season with a new center, Nick Gates, a swing guard/tackle who had never snapped the ball in either college or the NFL. They also had a new right tackle in free agent Cam Fleming and sprinkled in two other rookies along the line in guard Shane Lemieux and tackle Matt Peart.