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Giants Now (7/16): Andrew Thomas' immediate impact


CBS Sports believes Andrew Thomas will make immediate impact

The Giants went into the offseason with shoring up the offensive line as one of the team's top priorities. They achieved their goal after drafting three offensive linemen in the first five rounds of April's NFL Draft, including the selection of Georgia offensive tackle with the No. 4 overall pick.

Thomas enjoyed a stellar three-year career with the Bulldogs. He started all 15 games at right tackle as a true freshman, earning a selection as a Freshman All-American. In his sophomore campaign, Thomas started 13 games at left tackle and was named First-Team All-SEC and First-Team All-American. As a junior, he again started 13 games at left tackle and earned several accolades, including First-Team All-SEC, Unanimous All-American and the SEC Jacobs Blocking Trophy, awarded to the conference's top blocker.

The rookie offensive lineman turned 21 just a few months before the draft, yet Thomas could still be in line to earn one of the starting tackle spots this season. According to CBS Sports, Thomas is one of the most likely rookies to make an immediate impact this year, despite the shortened, modified offseason with no minicamps due to COVID-19.

As Chris Trapasso writes, "Thomas checks the two nonspecific boxes -- he has good traits and he produced in college. Being 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds with lengthy 36 1/8-inch arms is prototype material, and we know from the combine he's a high-level athlete for the offensive tackle position.

"And his film was clean at Georgia, particularly in 2019, when he sharpened his footwork, which led to more balance -- and fewer one-on-one losses -- in pass protection. Yes, the Bulldogs were extraordinarily run-heavy during Thomas' tenure at left tackle. Last season, as an offense, Georgia dropped back to pass 429 times and ran on 505 occasions. In 2018, the team ran the ball 548 times to just 376 drop backs. On the surface, that philosophy didn't prepare Thomas well for the pass-happy NFL.

"However, he was boringly good in pass pro in his final season in Athens. Per Pro Football Focus' draft guide. he allowed just nine pressures (with one sack) on 410 pass-block snaps… Along with paving lanes for Saquon Barkley, he'll be effective when Daniel Jones drops back to pass too."

Kevin Zeitler named Giants' prime candidate to make first Pro Bowl

Kevin Zeitler has been one of the most consistent offensive linemen in the league over the last few years. In the past five seasons with the Bengals, Browns and his first year with the Giants, Zeitler has missed only one game.

He started 15 games at right guard last season and earned a 76.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranked as the highest grade among anyone on the Giants' offense and the seventh-highest among the league's guards. In fact, Zeitler has graded above a 73 every season since entering the league in 2012.

Marc Sessler of picked one player from each team that he believes could earn their first selection to the Pro Bowl this season. For the Giants, Zeitler was the pick.

"Moving to the Meadowlands as part of the Odell Beckham Jr. swap, Zeitler's presence made an immediate impact in New York, while his absence brought painful results in Cleveland," wrote Sessler. "PFF's seventh-highest graded guard, Zeitler has grown into a consistently valuable run blocker who shows no sign of losing moxie in his age-30 season."

View photos of every offensive linemen on the Giants roster.

Leonard Williams got pressure on QBs after joining Giants

The Giants acquired defensive lineman Leonard Williams in a trade from the Jets in the middle of the 2019 season, helping boost a strong interior defensive line group.

Williams put up solid numbers in his half season with the Giants. The former Pro Bowl lineman registered 26 tackles (13 solo), two tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, 0.5 sacks, two passes defended and one forced fumble in eight games (five starts) with Big Blue.

The Giants placed the franchise tag on Williams at the beginning of the offseason, ensuring the former first round pick's spot on the team this season.

While the 0.5 sacks were the lowest sack total of his career, Williams still did a great job of putting pressure on the quarterback. After joining the Giants in Week 9, Williams went on to rank 8th in total pressures among interior defensive linemen for the remainder of the season.

View photos of every member of the defensive front on the Giants' 90-man roster.


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