The New York Giants committed to fixing the offensive line last offseason. The Giants spent three of their draft picks in the 2020 NFL Draft on the offensive line. New York’s top pick in the 2020 NFL Draft was offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, selected fourth overall in the draft.
Andrew Thomas had an up-and-down rookie season. At times, he looked worthy of his top-ten draft spot. But he also looked like the worst offensive tackle in the league at other times. That might sound harsh, but statistically, it is hard to find many tackles that had a worse season than Andrew Thomas.
In his rookie 2020 campaign, Andrew Thomas allowed 10 sacks, the most of any tackle in the league. He struggled greatly in pass protection, causing many to second guess the Giants’ first-round draft choice. However, there are still reasons to believe that Andrew Thomas is a franchise left tackle. His improvements in the second half of the 2020 season are encouraging and could foreshadow a breakout 2021 season.
Why Andrew Thomas could turn things around in 2021
Andrew Thomas is under pressure entering 2021. Of the top four offensive tackles taken in the first round of last year’s draft, Thomas had the worst season of them all. Many fans have criticized the Giants’ selection of Thomas because of the fact that they could have selected the likes of Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, or Mekhi Becton.
In 2021, Thomas has the opportunity to prove the doubters wrong. It was kept under wraps, but the Giants’ first-round pick actually played through an ankle injury all season long. He had surgery in January to clean things up. This injury could be the reason for Thomas’s struggles and the reason his technique became so inconsistent.
A healthy Andrew Thomas could be a much-improved left tackle in 2021. By the end of the 2020 season, Thomas showed significant improvements. 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 New York Giants’ offensive line has been a weakness for years. After investing so much into the unit last year, the Giants are hoping to see some improvement this season. Fans are low on Andrew Thomas, but if he can turn it around this season, he will establish himself as a franchise left tackle for the Giants.