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Mailbag: Andrew Thomas' growth; LB prospects

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Matt in NYC: Andrew Thomas got a lot of praise in his second season, but how do they build the offensive line around him?

John Schmeelk: Thomas had an excellent second season despite the fact he played through a bad ankle most of the season. According to Pro Football Focus, he only allowed three sacks and four quarterback hits in 517 pass protection snaps last season. Thomas is the team's franchise left tackle and the team will focus on building around him on the offensive line. The team added a number of veteran interior offensive linemen in the off-season and you could expect them to add a potential right tackle with an early pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Mike in Pennsylvania: Do the Giants go defense with first pick? Assuming both edge rushers are off the board at No. 5, and take a blue-chipper such as Nakobe Dean? He is the best linebacker with sideline-to-sideline range and a three-down player with smarts and tackles well. Dean would do for the Giants what Micah Parsons did for Dallas. Also, what is Nick Gates' status?

John Schmeelk: Nick Gates is still rehabbing from his leg injury and it will be a wait-and-see process for him.

Dean (5-11, 229) was a very productive three-down linebacker at Georgia and is quick to diagnose and attack the line of scrimmage in the run game. He is a good blitzer and has the athleticism to cover. But he has not worked out since the college season has ended because of a pec injury, which has left most experts targeting him for the late first round. He is a completely different player to Parsons (6-3, 246).

Bob in Vermont: Although he got hurt at pro day, what about drafting David Ojabo with one of the third-round picks? He might be a steal; it would be like getting a 2023 first-round talent for third-round cost with a year of learning the defense.

John Schmeelk: As a long term play, it's a solid strategy if he is somehow still on the board when the Giants select in the third round. But Ojabo may not get out of the second round because he is a very talented pass rusher.

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