Left tackle is a serious concern for the New York Giants, considering Nate Solder had one of the worst performances at the position in 2019. The projected cap-hit for Solder in 2020 is $19.5 million, a massive number for a player who put rookie quarterback Daniel Jones under immense pressure last season.
The question is – can we trust Solder to pick up his play moving forward?
There has been little evidence to suggest the Giants can depend on Solder to lock down the left side of the line and give Jones the time he needs without being concerned about his blindside. Solder will turn 32 in April, and the Giants are still in a rebuilding stage, which complicates their situation as taking on his dead cap hit would be inadvisable. However, the new CBA allows the Giants to spread his dead cap hit over the next few seasons, which could result in them cutting him and drafting a new tackle to plug into the position.
One positive thing about Solder is his health. He hasn’t missed a start for Big Blue in two seasons, but that motivating factor didn’t amount to much as he was hit with allowing 11 sacks, tied for 2nd in the NFL, per PFF.
Who should the New York Giants look at in the draft?
The best-left tackle available is none other than Andrew Thomas out of Georgia. Thomas has been a bell-cow for Georgia over the last three years, and he’s been at the front lines for the Joe Moore Award consistently. The offensive lineman has featured at both tackle spots, which gives him the diversity the Giants are looking for.
Listing Thomas’ best traits:
-Recovery is impressive
-Great leg power
-High football IQ — identifies stunts and blitzes well
-True Hog Mollie
-Strong run blocker at first level
-Finds work (always looking to hit somebody and make a difference)
-Can struggle to get to second level
-A little small for tackle position
-Can lean too much in pass pro instead of hunkering down and staying tall
-Can be impatient at times in pass pro (specifically on stunts)
As you can see, the difference in positives to negatives is significant, which attests to how prepared Thomas is for the NFL. The Giants would be gaining a starting tackle on either side for the foreseeable future. They could plug him in on the right side and swap him over to left tackle in 2021 if they elect to keep Solder.