The New York Giants made it a priority to address the offensive line last year during the 2020 NFL Draft. With the fourth overall pick in the first round, the Giants selected Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. The team then addressed the unit again in rounds three and five.
Andrew Thomas was the first of six offensive tackles taken in the first round of the draft. However, he did not necessarily play like the first and best offensive tackle taken in last year’s draft class. Thomas struggled in his rookie season and was outplayed by other first-round tackles, such as Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills.
However, it was not all bad for Andrew Thomas in his rookie season. The Georgia product did have plenty of positive moments and flashed great potential. Pro Football Focus recognized this potential and named Andrew Thomas the most underrated player on the New York Giants entering 2021.
What makes Andrew Thomas an underrated player?
Andrew Thomas allowed three or more pressures in eight of the Giants’ first eight games in 2020 (PFF). He struggled significantly in pass protection despite being a collegiate prospect that had not allowed two or more pressures in a game since 2017. Thomas also allowed the most pressures of any offensive tackle in the NFL last season with a total of 57 pressures allowed (PFF).
It was a tough year for Andrew Thomas in pass protection. However, his struggles in the passing game were not as prominent in the second half of the season. After allowing three or more pressures in eight of the Giants’ first eight games in 2020, Andrew Thomas allowed three or more pressures in only three of the Giants’ last eight games (PFF).
Andrew Thomas earned just one PFF pass-blocking grade below 59.0 over the second half of the season, whereas every single outing before Week 8 fell below that mark. Outside of one disastrous game against Arizona, his pass-blocking grade was above 70.0 from Week 8 onwards (PFF).
The Giants saw their first-round pick struggle in the first half of the 2020 season. However, Andrew Thomas really turned it around and changed trajectory in the second half of the year. He improved drastically and established himself as one of the better players that the Giants had on offense. Thomas also played the 2020 season injured, having ankle surgery at year’s end. Pro Football Focus is right to argue that Thomas is an underrated player. Andrew Thomas should continue to build on a strong finish to his rookie season and break out as a quality left tackle during a healthy 2021 sophomore season.