Andrew Thomas makes PFF's top 101 players from 2021
Andrew Thomas was recognized for his strong play in 2021.
Pro Football Focus released its annual list of the top 101 players from this past season, and the 23-year-old left tackle landed at No. 80.
"Giants left tackle Andrew Thomas improved by leaps and bounds in Year 2..." says PFF's Sam Monson, who went on to note that Thomas surrendered just 18 pressures across 517 pass-blocking snaps in 13 games.
After struggling at times during his rookie campaign, Thomas played 800 total offensive snaps this season and allowed just two sacks on those aforementioned 517 pass block snaps. Thomas earned an 82.1 pass block grade from PFF, which ranked 12th among all offensive tackles, while his 78.9 overall grade ranked 19th.
"I definitely made some strides over Year 2," Thomas said on NFL Network's 'Good Morning Football' recently. "I worked really hard this past offseason to get stronger and refine my technique. I think my sets and my hand placement were a lot more consistent this year, which led to an overall better performance. But there's still a lot of work to be done."
Thomas made one of the highlights of the Giants season back in Week 11.
With Big Blue taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers on the road, the young tackle made an athletic, leaping catch on a pass from Daniel Jones for a two-yard touchdown.
With Head Coach Brian Daboll now in the fold, the Giants offense is certain to look a lot different in 2022. Thomas is excited to begin working with Daboll to help the offense take a big step forward this coming season.
"I'm looking forward to getting to know him," Thomas said about his new head coach. "Obviously in Buffalo, he helped cultivate one of the most explosive offenses in the league. I'm excited to learn from him and be a part of turning this thing around."
View the best photos from the career of Giants All-Pro left tackle Andrew Thomas.
PFF's early and late-round fits for Giants in 2022 draft
The 2022 NFL Draft will serve as a great opportunity for the Giants to replenish the roster with some fresh, young talent.
The Giants currently hold nine selections in the upcoming draft, including two in the top 7, three in the first 36 and five in rounds 1-3. Free agency will obviously play a role in how GM Joe Schoen ultimately decides to use those nine picks, but that hasn't stopped media outlets from releasing early predictions for Big Blue.
PFF identified one need for every team across the league before choosing both an early-round and late-round fit. For the Giants, the analytics site addressed the offensive line.
Early Fit: Charles Cross, Mississippi State
Late Fit: Braxton Jones, Southern Utah
"After a strong tackle class netted them Andrew Thomas two years ago, another top-heavy class looks destined to gift them their starting right tackle," writes PFF's Michael Renner. "Cross makes the most sense from a pass-protection standpoint, as he allowed only 16 pressures on 719 pass-blocking snaps last year.
After redshirting his freshman season following appearances in three games, Cross went on to start 10 games at left tackle in 2020 and was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. This past season, the young tackle started 12 games and allowed just two sacks and 33 hurries on 719 pass block snaps. He finished with an 86.7 overall grade from PFF, including strong marks in both the run (87.2) and pass (84.9) game. Cross was named First-Team All-SEC and also received the Kent Hull Trophy as the best offensive lineman in Mississippi, chosen by the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Jones was a three-year starter at Southern Utah. He was named Third-Team All-Big Sky in 2019 before being named First-Team All-Big Sky in each of the last two seasons. In 11 games this past year, Jones surrendered three sacks, two hits and seven hurries on 442 pass block snaps. PFF awarded him an overall grade of 93.9, aided by an elite 93.6 run block and 90.1 pass block grade.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah released his final edition of the top 50 prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Mike Kafka brings track record of success to Giants
With the coaching bug taking hold, he got his next opportunity to work under famed coach Andy Reid in Kansas City. He served as the Chiefs' offensive quality control coach in his first year (2017) before serving as quarterbacks coach and pass game coordinator the past two seasons.
"Big picture-wise, you always think about generating those explosive plays," Kafka said of what he learned from Reid. "The Kansas City offense, they're going to throw it deep. We're going to do those types of things downfield. I think that's important to understand and that has to be an element of your offense. Now, we've got to take a step back and make sure it fits for our personnel, fits for the quarterback, fits for offensive line, but I think you want to be able to find ways to generate explosive plays, especially this day in age in the NFL."
With the Giants, he inherits an offense that ranked last in plays of 20 or more yards in 2021.
"What you've got to look at is, right now, we're trying to fit these pieces in," Kafka said. "I think we have an idea from the offensive side and a vision for what this offense is going to look like, but we've got to find out who those pieces are. I think right now we're going through that process. We're going through free agency. We're going through evaluating the guys currently on the team, and we're going through the draft process. So, there's a bunch of steps we've got to take. I'm excited about the players we have in the building. I'm excited about the prospects that are out there. We've got to make sure that we can build a program that is efficient and effective for all the guys on the team."