This is the first in our series of articles taking a deeper dive into the Giants' 2020 draft class. We will analyze every aspect of their play in college using data and game film. Today we take a look at first round selection Andrew Thomas.
I like to use two different metrics when evaluating a player's measureables. The first is RAS, which stands for Relative Athletic Score. It is a formula created by Kent Lee Platte and compares a player's measurements and testing during the pre-draft process to everyone else at the position that has been tested since 1987. A 10 is the highest score with 5 being a true average score. You can find all the class's RAS scores at relativeathleticscores.com.
The other useful illustration are the spider graphs posted at mockdraftable.com, which provides a nice visual of what a player's strengths are compared to others at the position. The numbers represent the percentile each player ranks in each category relative to the other players at his position.
Even though Thomas did not rank in the 90th percentile of prospects at offensive tackle or score as well as players like Tristan Wirfs, Mekhi Becton or Ezra Cleveland, his overall numbers still put him in the 80th percentile of players at the position. His showing at the combine was impressive.
His arm length of 36 1/8 stands out among his measurements. Good length is vital to play well at offensive tackle. His immense arms should also calm any concerns over his 21 bench press reps. Players with longer arms will never put up as many reps on the bench as players with shorter arms.
In terms of his testing, short area explosion and quickness are more important for offensive linemen. His best results were in the broad and vertical jumps, drills that measure explosion, with his results landing in the 84th and 79th percentiles. His agility grades were also strong with his 20-yard short shuttle and three-cone drill both in the highest third of those tested at offensive tackle.
Thomas has the necessary traits to succeed and excel at offensive tackle in the NFL, with enough elite traits to give him a high ceiling.
College History (Production Numbers Courtesy of Pro Football Focus)
2017: True Freshman Season – 15 Starts at right tackle – Freshman All-American
PFF Numbers: 351 pass blocking snaps, 1 sack, 4 QB hits and 12 QB hurries allowed
2018: Sophomore Season – 13 starts at left tackle – 1st Team All-SEC – 2nd Team All-American
PFF Numbers: 314 pass blocking snaps, 3 sacks, 3 QB hits and 5 QB hurries allowed
2019: Junior Season – 13 starts at left tackle – 1st Team All-SEC and All-American – Team Captain – Jacob's Blocking Trophy
PFF Numbers: 410 pass blocking snaps, 1 sack, 0 QB hits, and 8 QB hurries allowed
Overall: PPF's top ranked OT in the 2019 draft class
Injuries: Missed only one game in college career versus Middle Tennessee State on September 15, 2018 with an ankle injury.
Athletic Background: Played basketball and baseball in high school. In football, he played left tackle and nose tackle. He was a four-star recruit and the 9th ranked offensive tackle in his recruiting class. An uncle from each side of his family played college basketball.
View photos from the college career of Georgia OT Andrew Thomas.
When you watch Thomas on tape there isn't much not to like. He excels in run and pass blocking and did it against some of the best edge players who came out in the 2020 NFL Draft. His matchups included the following teams and players in 2019:
- Notre Dame: Julian Okwara, Khalid Kareem
- Tennessee: Darrell Taylor
- Florida: Jonathan Greenard, Jabari Zuniga
- Auburn: Marlon Davidson
- LSU: K'Lavon Chaisson
In 2018, he faced Josh Allen, though he didn't have the opportunity to block him much in straight-rush situations.
Thomas handled those unique rushers well with his combination of power, length and agility. He was consistent game to game, with the only criticism from analysts being that he would sometimes bend at the waist too much and lose his balance, specifically against speed rushers around the edge.
Here's a look at some plays that show what he can do.
We'll start with the running game. Despite the Georgia running back getting stopped in the backfield on the play, Thomas executes his inside zone responsibilities well. He slows down the 3-4 defensive end before getting to the second level and using his power to drive LSU linebacker Jordan Phillips out of the hole.
Thomas gets to the second level well on this outside run. He shows his athleticism and power by moving his feet to get to the perimeter to help his tight end remove the Florida defensive end from the play. His pivot and change of direction to hit the Florida defender coming from the second level is impressive for his size. He clears the rushing lane at the point of attack.
Then he shows his strength against Notre Dame, using his upper body strength to twist Day Three draft pick Khalid Kareem to the ground.
In pass protection, he shows his length and power to stymie rushers. Here he is blocking first round pick K'Lavon Chaisson, who is trying to leverage his length in a speed to power move. Thomas handles it perfectly. Chaisson leans in with one arm to Thomas' chest to use his length to move him back toward the quarterback. Chaisson's momentum stops completely, and he is even pushed back when Thomas punches with his longer arms, which eliminates the defender's power.
Here's a different move from Chaisson, as he tries to counter with an inside spin. Thomas maintains his technique and stays with the more athletic player, maintaining his position between the defender and quarterback, which allows Jake Fromm to hit a deep pass.
Here you see Thomas' good hand usage and strength. Darrell Taylor tries to swipe his hands away, but Thomas maintains control and uses his length to push Taylor off his body.
The strength of Thomas' punch against Khalid Kareem with his inside arm is impressive on this play. Thomas sends the rusher back on initial contact and stymies his rush plan.
Thomas is initially beaten outside by Florida's Jonathan Greenard, yet he has the ability to maintain his feet and recover and ride the defender around the quarterback.
When Greenard tries to counter with an inside spin? Not happening.
Finally, Thomas shows good awareness versus a twist, as he tosses the end inside with his strength to help his right guard guard before picking up the tackle coming around the outside.