We finally know which player the New York Giants will welcome into their lineup this season, and once again, the answer surprised many. Andrew Thomas of Georgia was the one that the Giants front office was the most confident in, and the team selected Thomas at number four overall rather than trading down or taking a player rated more highly by the media and other teams with needs in the offensive line department.
But, just like the Daniel Jones pick last year, this one will come with some controversy. Like Jones, Thomas isn’t the player that was popularly linked to the Giants – the more popular narrative was that the Giants’ connections to Alabama would win out and they would select dominant Crimson Tide pass rusher Jedrick Wills.
However, taking Thomas at number four overall will likely turn some people who would have been fine with the pick into critics. It’s another gamble from general manager Dave Gettleman. When everything is all said and done after the next couple of seasons, the pick might look good, and like a time when the Giants have actually hit rather than missed in the Draft. Because the team took Thomas as high as he did, though, there’s a higher chance that things won’t turn out that way.
After all, taking a player in the top five rather than trading down and taking the same player slightly later raises expectations. Thomas isn’t generally viewed as having as much upside as Jedrick Wills or Mekhi Becton, making it harder to justify taking him at the spot the Giants selected him at.
That’s not to say that Thomas isn’t worthy of being taken high in the first round by the Giants. He was one of the first prospects the team showed interest in scouting wise at the position, and his college numbers rival that of other top offensive line players in this year’s class.
But it looks like the Giants could have gotten more and still drafted Thomas, which will push expectations up for him this year.
Dave Gettleman was already widely said to be on the hot seat going into this season, with most not even thinking initially that the Giants would keep Gettleman around this year. It was a surprise to see Gettleman back for another year, and a decision of the team owners which was met with controversy. This decision will just add to that.
Likely, Gettleman will hope that Thomas performs to those now increased expectations this season. Not only because the success of the Giants will depend on, among other things, a good offensive line. But because his job is also on the line now that the Giants have spent a top five pick on his gamble.
The New York Giants land stud tackle Andrew Thomas with 4th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
After months of speculation, the Giants elected to draft Andrew Thomas out of Georgia with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. This immediately shored up the tackle position, given his ability to play on the right and left side. Next season, we can project that he will start at right tackle and move over to the left side once Nate Solder is inevitably gone in 2021.
So what does Thomas bring to the Giants?
At 6-foot-5 and 315-pounds, Thomas is a fantastic left tackle. Running a 5.22 40-yard dash, he brings toughness, speed, and strength to an offensive line that has struggled in recent years.
His elite body type and fantastic grounding allow plenty of potential for new OL coach, Marc Colombo, to unlock. His tremendous strength and smooth feet provide him with the appropriate fundamentals to build off of. His weaknesses are mostly fundamental-based — Lacking consistency, balance, and failing to utilize his elite traits to their maximum potential.
Essentially, if Colombo can help develop him, he can be one of the best tackles in the NFL and on the Giants. He is a fantastic player with plenty of upsides to work with, making him worthy of the fourth overall selection.
We can expect second-year passer Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley to be a bit more comfortable on offense, specifically in pass protection and opening up holes in the run game. Allowing him to start at right tackle and make the transition to the left side in 2021 is the ideal move, as he can lock down both tackle spots and solidify the future on Daniel Jones’s blindside.
With the Giants going OT in the first round, we should expect them to go defense in the second, unless they are enamored by centers Matt Hennessey and Cesar Ruiz.
The New York Jets did it; they pulled the trigger on the next anchor of their offensive line. The last homegrown guys who had an impact on the offensive line, Ferguson and Mangold have been retired for a few years now. The Jets haven’t had an anchor to protect their QB; now they have a big one.
Meet Mekhi Becton
Mekhi is definitely the anchor for this offensive line. At 364-lbs and standing 6-foot-7, Becton is sure to be a roadblock for edge rushers. In a division where there are three smart defensive coaches, Becton can protect Sam and block the ferocious edge rushers.
Mekhi is an excellent run blocker and a good pass blocker. Mekhi has the most risk of the core-four of offensive lineman, but the most upside. He ran a 5.10 40 yard dash. Becton is a monster of a man with superb agility. If Becton can make a smooth transition to the next level, the Jets may have just got an All-Pro left tackle.
With the Jets allocating ample cap-space toward the offensive line, they must shore-up their protection and provide Sam Darnold with the help he ultimately needs.
On April 23rd, 2012, the Nets played their final game in the Izod Center after their 2-year stint in Newark, thus ending the franchise’s run of 35 seasons in New Jersey.
The Nets lost the game to the Philadelphia 76ers, 105 – 87. Players that scored in double figures that night for the 76ers were Jrue Holiday (15), Andre Iguodala (14), Elton Brand (15), Lou Williams (11), Evan Turner (13), and Thaddeus Young (15).
Marshon Brooks (18) and Kris Humphries (16 pts 12 rbs) lead the Nets in scoring while Gerald Wallace, Johan Petro, and Armon Johnson all scored in double figures. Also on that Nets team was Gerald Green, Anthony Morrow, and DeShawn Stevenson. Deron Williams and Brook Lopez were inactive for that game. In Avery Johnson’s 2nd to last year as Head Coach, the team finished the season 22 – 43 that season. Here is one of the few highlights from that season:
It wasn’t until their move to Brooklyn and acquisition of Joe Johnson that the team finally started winning again. But from 2007 to that final game in 2012, the New Jersey Nets were one of the worst franchises in the NBA, finishing each of those five seasons with losing records.
It’s the horrible seasons fans are forced to endure that make the successful ones that much sweeter. When Brooklyn holds that championship trophy in the next few years, the same Nets fans that suffered from 2007-2012 will be the loudest ones cheering, and I will be among them.
Knowing that much, you would think that he was thrilled to know that Tom Brady will be the team’s quarterback for the next two years. And, you would also think that he was ecstatic to know that Rob Gronkowski, arguably the most dominant tight end of the last decade, came out of his retirement to join TB12 in his newest adventure in Florida.
Brady and Gronkowski won three Super Bowls together with the New England Patriots. However, this offseason, the team in Foxboro let Brady walk and he signed with the Bucs.
Alonso is “pumped” as a Bucs fan
“I’m pumped,’’ Alonso told The Post this week when he announced his new foundation: http://www.homers4heroes.org. “Tom and Gronk in town. That fires me up. Fire the cannons, baby.’’
To say that Brady and Gronkowski were a dynamic duo in New England would be an understatement. The signal-caller threw a whopping 90 touchdowns to Gronk during their nine years in New England.
Gronkowski decided to retire before last season, but the tight end announced that he would come back a few days ago, and the Patriots and Buccaneers swung a trade.
The Mets’ star wants to work out with the duo
Alonso, the New York Mets’ prized slugger who hit 53 homers last season in his rookie year, offered this invitation: “If Tom wants to work out with me, then let’s get after it,’’ Alonso said. “If Gronk wants to work out with me, let’s go, that would be awesome.’’
Will the trio reunite to work out? Only time will tell, but if it were for the Mets’ star, they would have met already. Stay tuned.
Taking a look at where ESPN’s Mel Kiper predicts the New York Jets will go with the 11th overall pick.
The general consensus for the New York Jets has been that they will draft an offensive tackle with the 11th overall pick. That testament hasn’t changed as ESPN Mel Kiper predicted that general manager Joe Douglas selects Louisville tackle, Mekhi Becton, with their first-round pick.
“With the wide receiver class so deep, the Jets could grab a starter in Round 2. They can’t afford to miss on the top tier of this tackle class, though, and Becton is an athletic player with outstanding feet.”
In his final mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has the Jets taking Louisville OT Mekhi Becton at No. 11 #nyj
This is a fantastic move by Douglas, who forgoes the opportunity to land a top wide receiver like Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb, but Sam Darnold needs protection first and foremost, and Becton offers incredible size and agility at tackle. Standing at 6-foot-7 and 364-pounds, a human of that size physically shouldn’t be able to move the way he does, and the Jets land the player with the highest ceiling.
Douglas spent ample cap-space this off-season on retooling the offensive front, signing George Fant, Greg Van Roten, and Connor McGovern. Most of the signings our fringe starters, so drafting a player like Becton will completely revitalize the line and give Darnold more time in the pocket to operate. They must put their third-year passer in the best position possible to succeed after being sacked more than 60 times in the past two seasons combined.
Reflecting to his playmakers, Sam has a solid base of talent to work with, including LeVeon Bell, Jamison Crowder, and new signing, Breshad Perriman. Factor in tight ends Ryan Griffen and Chris Herndon and the Jets have the talent to play at a high level on offense, meaning the OL was the natural selection here.
Other teams are in the market for offensive tackles, but Becton sliding to the 11th pick should make Douglas’ decision easy.
In a time in which we have no baseball to enjoy, one of the most interesting storylines for New York Yankees‘ fans is the current state of Aaron Judge’s rib. He is arguably the most important position player in the roster, the one that will drive the club’s success if health is on his side.
Hoch reported that Judge remains in the Tampa, Fla., area and has been utilizing the George M. Steinbrenner Field complex as he rehabs from the stress fracture in his first right rib. The injury was spotted in March following a series of tests.
The Yankees seem to believe that Judge injured himself last September while attempting to make a diving catch in the outfield.
According to what the outfielder himself said in March, a CT scan showed “slight healing,” and added that a previously unreported pneumothorax (collapsed lung) has been resolved.
In a chat with Portland Trailblazers’ star Damian Lillard on adidas’ “The Huddle” Instagram Live show, the New York Yankees’ right fielder showed an optimistic attitude regarding his return to specifical baseball activities such as swinging and throwing.
The Yankees’ star rehab is going “good”
“It’s going good,” Judge told Lillard. “We were in Spring Training, just getting the season going. Having a broken rib, I should be back doing a little more here in about a week or two, and then hopefully have some answers on when the season starts. It’s crazy times.”
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Judge is enjoying this extra time off to let his rib heal. As a result, he should be ready to go whenever the MLB commissioner, the players’ association and health officials consider the appropriate time to return to action. Judge said he doesn’t want to rush back and re-injure himself.
“I think the consistent swinging and weightlifting throughout the whole offseason really didn’t give it the chance to [heal],” Judge said. “If somebody breaks their leg and they’re in a cast, they’re immobilized for a couple weeks or months. You give the bone a chance to heal. But I was [upset] about how the season ended last year, so I went right back to it. We’ve all been through pain, bumps and bruises. In my head, I felt like it was something that I could fight through, and I think that kind of cost me a little bit there.”
The New York Giants are likely out of the race for star defensive end Chase Young.
With reports indicating that the Washington Redskins could trade out of the No. 2 overall pick this week, there was hope the Giants could swoop in and land Ohio State defensive end Chase Young at No. 4, but that loss to Washington toward the end of the 2019 season is proving to be significant.
One could say trading for Leonard Williams lost them a 3rd rounder, $17 million in cal-space, but won them a must-lose game against Washington, ultimately giving them the golden goose egg in Young this year.
Falcons have history, moved all the way up for Julio Jones his year. They tried again. Chase Young too highly regarded for WAS to trade away pick
However, Big Blue is still in a fantastic place to land a top player in the NFL Draft, notably an offensive tackle, which seems to be a position of need for the top teams. Rumors have indicated that the Miami Dolphins could move up with a team like the Giants in the top 5, just to land they OL of choice and draft a quarterback later on the in draft.
Since Detroit has been heavily linked to Jeff Okudah and is working on a deal to move back to five, it could indicate that the Giants are all in on a tackle, a byproduct of Miami leap-frogging them.
With Young off the board for the Giants, though, they will likely attempt to move back and gain draft capital, especially if Mekhi Becton is projected to the 4th OT off the board. However, they can not move too far back without putting themselves out of range for a top-tier tackle.
This leaves a specific number of teams as options to trade back with — the Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cleveland Browns. The most probable teams to move up would be QB-needy teams like Miami, Los Angeles, and the Jags. One intriguing move would be to move back to No. 9 with the Jags and gain Yannick Ngakoue in a potential deal, as they’re reportedly asking for too much in compensation. Gaining five draft slots could be enough to convince them otherwise.
Andersen, the former leading scorer in the NFL, spoke with ESM about his specialist exploits and the role sports can play upon its return.
Morten Andersen achieved a lot over a football that lasted nearly 30 years. He was denied a Super Bowl ring, but his ledger features nearly everything else a kicker can accomplish at the professional level.
Among the accolades are a pair of All-Decade Team nominations, six All-Pro invites, seven more to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, and two All-American nods during his early 1980s college days at Michigan State. To date, no player has appeared in more NFL games than Andersen. He formerly held the record for the most points in NFL history, though Adam Vinatieri stole that one away in October 2018. Andersen nonetheless beat Vinatieri to the Hall of Fame. His Hall call made him the second placekicker to enter Canton’s hallowed gates.
Even in retirement, Andersen, who spent the 2001 season with the New York Giants, is still updating his resume. He was recently informed by friends and family that he emerged as an answer on the game show Jeopardy!. The Copenhagen native was told he was part of a category labeled “Great Danes”.
“I was one of the answers…it was cool,” the Hall-of-Famer says with a laugh. “My phone blew up about a month ago. I don’t watch Jeopardy! on the regular, but my friends apparently do. They took screenshots and told me, ‘dude, you’re on Jeopardy! right now.”
Newfound syndicated glory was just one of the many topics Andersen covered in an exclusive sit-down with ESM…
Q: What do you recall about your time with the 2001 New York Giants, who played their games in the midst of September 11’s aftermath?
A: It was a weird time with 9/11. I had literally just won the job from Brad Daluiso at the very beginning of the season. I had one preseason game against Baltimore. The following week, we opened the season in Denver on Monday Night Football September 10. Of course, the next day, all hell broke loose and we all know what happened then. So it was a weird time. My wife and two-year son Sebastian was supposed to come down on that Tuesday to look for a house. I was just staying in a hotel at the time and everything got locked down.
It was a very powerful time to be a Giant, to understand how sports really, eventually, galvanizes people, really pulls people together. I think New Yorkers, people were searching some sense of normalcy. I think, in some way, that fell on us to provide that peace after so much devastation.
That was great to be a part of. We had some great characters like Michael Strahan, Tiki Barber, Kerry Collins. We had a good football team. It was the year after the Giants lost to Baltimore in the Super Bowl. I enjoyed (head coach) Jim Fassel, I really enjoyed the big stage. I think that’s one thing I take away from the New York Football Giants, besides really great ownership with (Wellington) Mara and (Steve) Tisch, was the fact that it was the biggest stage in the world. We were practicing in East Rutherford, looking over at Manhattan going ‘holy crap…this is a big as it gets’.
Q: On the theme of sports being a great normalizer, do you think they can play a similar role when this current crisis ends?
A: Yes, I think there are a lot of parallels. Right now, it seems like there’s a lot of doom and gloom. It feels like an entertainment cemetery, where it’s a desert. There’s nothing out there to engage us in a normal fashion. We actually have to think about what to do every day now. It can become a bit of a Groundhog Day situation.
I think sports will bring everybody together and signal to us that things are back to normal. We can follow our favorite teams again. We can now make a friendly wager with our buddies, we can get out there and engage again, get to social media and start bantering, restart your fantasy football leagues, all those things that signal that we’re back to business as usual.
That’s what I hope happens. I think (sports) are going to come back more strong than they were before. I think people now, in these months where this void has been hemming, I think we’re all realizing, if you’re a sports fan anyway, how much you miss it, how much you miss that daily interaction. Not only with your buddies, but with your favorite team, following your favorite players, and engaging not only on social media, but just watching the games. Interacting with families, with the barbecues, with all the getting together.
All of these things are Americana we’re missing right now. It hurts. We’re suffering, I feel. (But) I feel that we’ll be back to it.
Q: With the lack of live sports, have you partaken in the airing of classic games…like the 1999 NFC title game?
A: That was a huge game! The Falcons recently streamed it through their social media services. I think it was well-viewed. I’m not sure how many, but it was a significant number. That was a huge moment for me and for the team, because it was the first time we were able to go to the Super Bowl.
I also saw the Saints-Falcons game after (Hurricane) Katrina a couple of weeks ago. That was my first game in a public park after 20 months unemployed. I had been out of football for 20 months and that was my game back with the Falcons against my old team, the Saints.
If there’s one thing that’s interesting through this coronavirus time, it’s that we get to see these historic games, these old games, some of which I was a part of. It kind of dates me! But we get to see other great players, some of the Niners games, the Giants games, it’s been fun to watch some of the games from the 80s, from the 90s. Some of the games you forgot who played. You can sit back and, if you want to TiVo it, you can fast forward through the slow time. It’s cool, it’s a good idea. They’re doing it in all the sports. I’ve been watching replays of the Rio Olympics, which is fun to watch. I love the Olympics. Old Masters highlights. I’ve always watched a three-hour Seve Ballesteros documentary. His whole story is fascinating to me.
Q: As a European native, how can the NFL continue to increase its footprint in the continent in a constructive way?
A: They’re doing it right now with GamePass and their partners. GamePass is significant because of the way the younger generation engages and watches sports. I’m 59, so I’m a linear media guy. I like to watch television. Give me a big screen, high-def with surround sound all day long. My kids, on the other hand, are 15 and 20 years old. They don’t engage that way. They’re on their platforms. They’re on their phones, their iPads, and that’s how they get their news, entertainment, and sports, which is not the way I grew up.
Having a team in, say, London would be a huge step forward. Getting a European team somewhere where you can still play games in the US would be a challenge, but having a viable NFL franchise in London would be a huge step.
When you travel from New York to San Diego, it’s a six-hour flight. London’s also a shorter flight than, say, Miami to Seattle. So, you have the time zone, it’s a five-hour difference. The NFL’s smart, so there’s a way to stage games where you two away games, two home games, where the (London) team wouldn’t fly back-and-forth, but ‘stay’.
I would love to see it. I loved NFL Europe. I actually did some games for Fox for about a month. I stayed in Amsterdam, following the Admirals. I also did a Hamburg game, a Cologne game. I thought that league was great. A lot of great players, Kurt Warner, Adam Vinatieri, James Harrison, came out of it. You can go on, and on, and on about the talent that was given the opportunity that they otherwise would’ve never had.
Q: Could the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas move to Las Vegas help, particularly be attracting British tourists?
A: I think it’s going to be great and sold out every single game. The Raiders were stuck in Oakland and the deal with the city could not be worked out for the stadium. Every stadium now needs luxury suites, large LED screens, amenities, parking and a general positive feeling about playing or spectating – and I don’t think you had that in Oakland.
“It was authentic for the fans and the Raiders are an iconic franchise with an iconic logo. But the truth is it was a small stadium in a bad neighborhood. Half of the pitch was dirt, half of grass. You could only put 50,000 people in there and it wasn’t sold out at all when I played there.
Vegas is going to be much more dynamic, they already had a huge store in the airport when I went through there in October. You’re going to a global city now from a commercial standpoint so it’ll be an amazing opportunity for the Raiders to grow their fanbase with all the Brits and Europeans coming in.
Q: In current NFL affairs, how the Patriots go about replacing Tom Brady?
A: I didn’t see Tampa coming at all, it’s a head-scratcher I think he has a place in Florida, but it really surprised me. I thought it was going to be the Chargers in their new stadium or the Raiders, although I knew Tom didn’t deep down want to go to Vegas. It’s too flashy for him.
“While he’s not the player he once was, this whole thing shows that the sport is a business. That you can be the greatest quarterback of all time, without question, and you still don’t get to finish the team you won all those Super Bowls with – it is mind-boggling to me. It’s not about the money, he doesn’t need the $30m that’s for sure!
“Belichick and Kraft must have told him that they wanted to go younger and cheaper in the QB position. And Tom knows his skills have diminished, he is 42 and time stops for no one. Maybe he thought change is good, even at the end of his career.
Maybe Tua Tagovailoa falls to them in the draft, but there are 32 teams, with many needing a good quarterback. I don’t think Cam Newton or Jameis Winston is fitting in with Belichick. Joe Flacco got cut and is out there so he may be a good option and he might get a look if they go for the experience they are known for. But there may just not be enough free agent quality so they will have to start over and hope Belichick continues his knack for developing young guys.
The Patriots will still be good, but they won’t be the same old Pats any more. While they’re in a bad division with the mediocre Dolphins and the terrible Jets, I think the Bills may win the division this year. But every team has to rebuild at some point and the Pats have been at the top for so long.
Q: How Brady can rejuvenate the Buccaneers and be a mentor to some great young players?
A: I think this move can rejuvenate Brady…not that he needs it, he is in good shape. But it’s just that different environment. Remember, Tampa has some really good receivers which Brady can unlock.
You also have the notion that Jameis Winston, who is still really young, could improve if Brady came in. He could really impart some wisdom on how to be a good pro if he wanted to, as long as they don’t ship Winston off to New England!
Same goes for Mike Evans. He and Winston still need to mature especially with some off-the-field stuff, and Brady could help them to do that as a father figure and bring an air of professionalism to the whole franchise.
I’m not sure Brady makes the Bucs contenders, given the Saints are in their division, and they are better than Tampa even with Brady there. A lot of people think Brady is washed up and doesn’t have the mobility anymore. He also has to learn with a totally new team. But for me, he can only be a positive influence.
Q: What were your thoughts on the DeAndre Hopkins trade?
A: I am lost for words. The Texans have just wholesaled their squad and, in trading DeAndre Hopkins, must have done one of the stupidest pieces of business in NFL history, it’s crazy.
Take the Stefan Diggs trade from the Vikings to the Bills. The Vikings got way more for their player who is nowhere near as good as Hopkins compared to what the Texans got. It’s ludicrous.
This could get Bill O’Brien fired down there. Everybody is going ‘what is this guy thinking?’ They’ve traded away their best player for a second-round pick. It defies all logic, unless it was a personality issue…although I’ve never heard a bad word said about DeAndre Hopkins who is meant to be a great team player.
Of the big free agent moves recently, including Brady and Rivers, for me, Hopkins will make the biggest impact by his absence in Houston. He is easily one of the top three receivers in the league and he will be a difference-maker.
There is one catcher in the New York Yankees minor league system that reminds me of a lot of the Yankees’ current backstop, Gary Sanchez. This prospect resembles Sanchez in so many ways, but the way that stands out the most for a catcher is power. Josh Breaux was drafted by the Yankees in the second round of the 2018 MLB Draft. Breaux has displayed his power arm and power bat everywhere he has played in his career so far. In Junior College, Breaux hit 37 home runs and pitched a 100 MPH fastball as a reliever. Those two numbers right there tell you everything that you need to know about Breaux. The dude has unreal power and has powered his way into the Yankees’ top 30 prospects. He has dealt with some elbow issues that have slowed him down a little in his progression so far. He was only able to play 51 games last year in Charleston, but in those 51 games, Breaux definitely opened some eyes.
Raw Power on Display
In 2018, Breaux made his professional debut in rookie ball, and he definitely showed some promise hitting .269 and driving in 13 runs in 30 games. However, the step forward Breaux took last year cannot be ignored. In the 51 games last year, Breaux hit .271, had an OBP of .324, hit 13 homers, and drove home 49 runs. Those numbers would good enough to have an OPS of .842. Breaux did some definite damage last year with the bat in his hand. After hitting no homers in his first 30 games of rookie ball, Breaux really found his power swing last year. In watching him, he has very easy power that goes to all fields. Currently, he could easily develop into a guy who will hit you 30 home runs consistently every single year. One of the areas I saw improvement with Breaux was his ability to layoff pitches. This is still one of the areas he needs to improve, but it was nice to see the walks go up last year.
When it comes to Breaux, he just needs to stay on the field and keep progressing. He needs to learn to control the zone a little more as a hitter, and he needs to tighten up a few things on the defensive side of the ball. The raw tools that Breaux does have make him a truly special prospect. With time, his eye is going to continue to develop which will make him even more dangerous at the plate He needs to continue to learn how to hit with pitches instead of pulling off and trying to smoke everything for a home run. Like the New York Yankees current catcher, Breaux needs to continue to work on his ability to block pitches in the dirt. Again, this is something that can be fine-tuned with repetition. I really like Breaux as a prospect, and I think the Yankees definitely have a guy who will crack the MLB roster one day and deliver a few eye-popping home runs.