New York Giants should pray that Penei Sewell falls to them at eleven

The New York Giants drafted an offensive tackle with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Andrew Thomas had an up-and-down rookie season where he struggled, showed a lot of promise, and played through a foot injury. Going into year two, the Giants are expecting big things out of Thomas. Andrew underwent foot surgery this offseason and will be ready to go in 2021.

New York still has high hopes for Andrew Thomas, despite a shaky rookie season. Andrew is seemingly the left tackle of the future for the Giants. With New York picking eleventh overall in 2021 it is unlikely that they draft another offensive lineman in the first round of the draft. But there is one offensive line prospect that the Giants should pick if he somehow falls to them.

If Penei Sewell somehow slips to the Giants at eleven overall, New York has to take him. Granted, this scenario is a longshot. Sewell is a premium talent at a premium position. But there have been some random mock drafts made where analysts see Sewell falling to the back end of the top-ten and sometimes even outside of the top-ten. The Giants drafted an offensive tackle in the first round last year, but they should not hesitate to double dip in 2021 if Penei Sewell is on the board.

Why the Giants should pray for the chance to draft Penei Sewell

The New York Giants’ offensive line was terrible in 2020. Second-year quarterback Daniel Jones was under constant pressure. The Giants’ offensive line was atrocious in pass-protection and about league-average in the running game.

The Giants’ pass-block win rate in 2020, according to ESPN, ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win-rate ranked 18th at 70%. Rookie Andrew Thomas struggled significantly in pass protection. He gave up a league-high 57 pressures and 10 sacks this season. But if there was a positive to draw, Thomas had the fifth-highest run block win rate in the NFL at 80%.

The Giants have something in Andrew Thomas. He will be a legit starting offensive tackle. But Andrew Thomas could not realistically be a reason for the Giants to shy away from drafting Penei Sewell. Thomas has a bright future, but Sewell has been compared to legendary offensive linemen like Orlando Pace.

Penei Sewell is an impressive 330 pound, 6 foot 5 inch offensive tackle with the ability to mirror edge rushers off the line of scrimmage. Sewell is only 20 years old and was dominating seniors as a 19-year-old in college. His 95.8 overall Pro Football Focus grade in 2019 was the highest grade PFF has ever given to a collegiate offensive tackle. Sewell is the player to fix the Giants’ pass-protection issues.

Sewell won his pass-blocking reps at a rate of 3.4 percentage points higher than the average college football player and surrendered pressure at a rate 2.8 percentage points lower. – Pro Football Focus

If Penei Sewell did somehow drop to the Giants’ pick, there would be no hesitation in selecting him. Of course, Sewell and Andrew Thomas play the same position. But that should not prevent the Giants from making Sewell their bookend left tackle of the future. Andrew Thomas struggled to protect the blindside in his rookie season and does have some collegiate experience playing right tackle.

Many analysts suggested he switch to right tackle in the NFL during his pre-draft process. If Penei Sewell were to join the Giants’ roster, Andrew Thomas would need to change course and bookend the other side of New York’s line. This would give the Giants a pair of young, talented offensive tackles to build their offensive line around for years to come.

New York Giants would take a different OT if 2020 Draft happened again

New York Giants, Tristan Wirfs

The New York Giants didn’t have the worst draft in the world in 2020, but they could have done better. According to ESPN, they also would have taken a different player if it happened again. The player they took in reality was of course offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, but that pick has brought mixed results.

Thomas was quickly compared to a bust based on his early games, but was able to take steps forward with a change in coaching methods over the course of the season. Still, his performance will leave Giants fans looking for a big step forward next season.

ESPN believes if the Giants were to draft again, they would skip the uncertainty and select Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs ended up being picked lower than the other top tackles in the draft, but is on the All-Rookie team and is set to play in the Super Bowl with Tom Brady and the Bucs.

It came down to Thomas and Wirfs for the Giants in the real draft. They were atop their board at this position of need. It’s hard after their rookie years not to lean toward Wirfs. He played at an All-Pro level while Thomas allowed the most pressures in the NFL. It was tough to pass on Justin Jefferson in this exercise, but Wirfs was equally impressive at a more premium position. — Jordan Raanan

Things aren’t all that bad for the Giants. Based on the improvements Thomas has made compared to his earliest games, it looks like the Giants managed to avoid ending up with another Ereck Flowers. But they do have a player on their hands that has some more ways to go before reaching his full potential.

Hopefully, for the sake of Daniel Jones, that step forward does come this season.

New York Giants should see further offensive line improvements in 2021

New York Giants, Cleveland Browns

The New York Giants‘ offensive line was inconsistent in 2020. The Giants have had struggles across their offensive line for years now. It is a problem the Giants seemingly cannot fix. However, they are slowly working towards improving the offensive line, investing plenty of assets into the unit over the past two years.

The Giants traded for Kevin Zeitler in 2019 and signed Nate Solder to a huge contract in the 2018 free agency period. These are the two moves New York has made to acquire veteran talent on the offensive line. In 2020, though, the Giants shifted towards a more youthful approach on the offensive line.

New York spent the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on left tackle Andrew Thomas. They then doubled down at the position in the third round, selecting offensive tackle Matt Peart with pick number ninety-nine. But the Giants were not done there. They also spent a fifth-round pick on offensive guard Shane Lemieux in 2020.

These rookies saw plenty of playing time in the 2020 regular season. However, their performance was not always consistently good. However, there are reasons to believe that the Giants’ offensive line will improve further in 2021.

Continuity is key

The New York Giants’ offensive line severely lacked continuity and experience in 2020. Along with the rookies that saw extensive playing time, the Giants started second-year lineman Nick Gates at center, a position he had never played before. Gates was practically a rookie as well.

Taking that into consideration, the Giants had experienced players at only two of the five offensive line positions last season. Right guard Kevin Zeitler is an excellent, veteran player. Right tackle Cam Fleming is also an experienced veteran. However, the rest of the line was comprised of rookies and inexperienced players for the majority of the season.

The Giants also had no continuity along their offensive line. In terms of calling protections and passing off stunts, continuity and chemistry is crucial. No one on the Giants’ offensive line in 2020 lined up next to a teammate that they lined up next to in 2019.

Kevin Zeitler was placed between a brand new center and a brand new right tackle. The absence of Nate Solder left rookie Andrew Thomas as the Giants’ starting left tackle, sandwiching the left guard position between two newly acquired players.

The 2021 season will see the Giants’ offensive line play with far more chemistry and continuity than they did in 2020. There is not likely to be much overturn at all along New York’s offensive line. There could be a change made at the right tackle position, but the other four positions will likely be manned by the same players from last season. Additionally, the Giants made a change at the offensive line coach position midseason in 2020. Hopefully, in 2021, New York’s front line can enjoy the coaching of a singular coach. This second-year together could allow the Giants’ offensive line to grow and develop into a more continuous and consistent unit.

New York Giants: 3 reasons we should expect a big jump from Andrew Thomas in 2021

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

When the New York Giants drafted Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, most felt optimistic they secured their left tackle for the future.

After experiencing the Ereck Flowers debacle and a lackluster performance from Nate Solder in 2019, Giants fans and management were clearly ready to allocate a high draft pick toward a staple left tackle. However, Thomas’s rookie season was tumultuous, oftentimes failing miserably in pass blocking during the first half of the 2020 season.

Overall, Thomas allowed 10 sacks, 8 quarterback hits, 39 hurries, and 57 pressures. He was also hit with three penalties. From a general standpoint, that is a terrible season for a tackle and ranks poorly when compared to the other first-round tackles from the draft class.

There are multiple factors that suggest a big leap in 2021, and the Giants could use it with Daniel Jones going into a make or break year.

Three reasons the New York Giants should expect a big second-year jump from Andrew Thomas:

1.) He’s already an affective run-blocker

One of Thomas’ major strengths coming out of Georgia was his run-blocking ability, displaying fantastic aggression and the desire for work in the trenches. That didn’t change in the NFL, as he experienced several high-profile run blocking performances in his rookie season. Despite the Giants losing Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL in week 2, they still managed to produce an average running attack, which was far above expectations given the youth in the trenches.

Thomas earned grades of 73 or above on five different occasions, with his best performance coming against the Seattle Seahawks in week 13. He earned an 84.3 overall grade, per PFF. In that specific contest, the Giants ran for 190 yards, with back up Wayne Gallman averaging 8.4 yards per carry and totaling 135. They were routinely running to the weak side of the formation, as Thomas was dominating his assignments and opening up gaping holes for the running backs to exploit.

This is a major strength for the Giants, who are vocally committed to establishing the run. With Barkley expected to return in 2021, Thomas will be an integral part and leading the attack on the ground.

2.) He played through injury

Just this past week, we discovered that Andrew Thomas required off-season surgery on his left ankle. This was a major surprise, considering the injury was something that occurred during training camp, indicating that Thomas played an entire 16 game season with a bum left ankle.

It’s important to note that tackles utilize the lower half of their bodies predominantly when anchoring and resetting, so fighting through pain routinely shows how tough Thomas is. At just 21 years old, he’s barely able to buy himself a legal alcoholic beverage, and after surgery, I imagine he will need a few whiskeys.

3.) His pass blocking improved in second-half of rookie season

The major con for Thomas in 2020 was his pass blocking. He finished with a 54.7 overall pass-blocking grade, but the second half of his campaign saw dramatic improvements.

To be exact, during the first eight weeks of the 2020 season, he earned a 52 overall grade in the category, but in the second half, he landed at 62.7. That is a major difference, especially since he was baptized by fire with multiple elite pass rushers in the first four games. Right off the bat, he was forced to take on Bud Dupree, Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Aaron Donald and Co.

He gradually improved as the season went on, despite the New York Giants moving on from offensive line coach Marc Colombo. The changes didn’t seem to affect Thomas too much, as he battled injury and new protection styles. At such a young age, Thomas has the potential to be a fantastic left tackle, and I think we will see him take a jump forward in 2021.

New York Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas has ankle surgery

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants spent the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas. Thomas had an up-and-down rookie season but flashed his potential as a solid starter in the NFL along the way. In particular, Thomas had a strong finish to the season, stringing together a few impressive performances down the final stretch.

There might now be some explanation as to why Thomas’s play was inconsistent during his rookie season. Apparently, Andrew had been dealing with a left ankle injury this season. He managed through the pain and finished the season. But now he has finally taken care of this injury, underoing surgery on his left ankle today.

This injury could further explain why Andrew Thomas’s footwork and technique seemed to get inconsistent and poor at times during the regular season. This injury indicates that there might have been more going on than just “rookie growing pains.”

Andrew Thomas informed the public of his ankle surgery through an instagram post today. The post by Thomas features an image of his ankle post-surgery and states that “everything went well” with the surgery.

According to Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post Sports, Andrew Thomas is expected to be fully healed by March. Andrew will absolutely be prepared and ready to go for the 2021 regualr season, barring anything unforeseen. Andrew’s ankle injury must have been minor, but still bothersome enough to require surgery. Now, with this injury cleaned up, Thomas can recover and look forward to a healthier sophomore season in 2021.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas explains first season challenges

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants went out on a limb last offseason when they drafted Andrew Thomas with a top five pick; not the riskiest option in the world, but not the one with the highest ceiling either. The pick was said to be playing it safe, and opinion went back and forth on the player early on in the season.

First, there was talk that Thomas might be a bust. Another Ereck Flowers. And then some arguments that his struggles might be a matter of coaching. His own former coach even came out and basically said that he was being coached wrong. The Giants made a mid season coaching change at the O-line coach spot and the verdict on Thomas has improved since the season began.

But the rookie still has further to go in his second season. He’ll have the advantage of entering with more experience this year, and based on what he’s said, some important lessons too.

“That’s the biggest thing I think, going from college to the NFL is just how much you have to study your craft and your techniques,” Thomas said on Tuesday when addressing the media. “Those rushers, they study you, know your stance, they know your hand-placement, all those things, and if you make one small mistake it can tumble into a snowball effect and be a bad game for you. That’s been the biggest thing I’ve learned so far.”

He said that he aimed to keep his head down during his rookie season and ignore the media. It’s an understandable position, considering the greatly varying takes on Thomas this year.

Comparisons to other players

The big comparison this year has been to Mekhi Becton, who was selected lower than Thomas but had a more consistent season while playing with the Giants’ crosstown rival. Thomas said that he’s not focusing on other players like Becton – or Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills, the other highly drafted tackles from his class.

“For me, I look at it as running my own race. I want all those guys to be successful, but for me I want to be the best player I can be, the best player I can be for the Giants, for my teammates and that’s what I’m working to be,” Thomas said, adding that focusing on others would take away from his own efforts.

Thomas played in all 16 games for the Giants this season and was involved in 96% of their offensive snaps during those games. His rookie season was good enough to build on, but there will almost certainly be more scrutiny going into his second year.

After all, Daniel Jones was hit far more times this season than what should be acceptable. If the Giants want to turn it around and make the playoffs next year, solving that problem and improving the O-line’s performance will be one of their chief challenges.

The New York Giants had one breakout performance in the week 15 loss to Cleveland

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

While the New York Giants were thoroughly embarrassed by the Cleveland Browns in week 15, there were some positives to take away from the loss. Normally, losing by 14 points and failing to remain competitive indicates very few positives, but several players had superb performances.

Rookie safety Xavier McKinney looked solid in his fourth start of the season, earning the most reps he’s enjoyed all year with 41. He spent 17 reps in run defense, 23 in coverage, and one rushing the passer. According to PFF, he had his highest grade of the season at 70.5 and didn’t allow a single yard or completion.

However, McKinney isn’t the player I want to talk about today, it is left tackle Andrew Thomas. Thomas was forced to challenge star defensive end Myles Garrett all game long. As the former number one pick in 2017, Garrett is one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL. He has dominant quickness and power off the edge. He’s been a force all season long, racking up 12 sacks over 12 games.

How did New Yor Giants’ Andrew Thomas fare against Garrett?

With Myles is coming off a bout with COVID, most thought Thomas would have a tough time against the star-studded defender. Well, Thomas stood his ground and then some, limiting Garrett to his second-worst pass-rush grade of the year at 60.5. He recorded just one sack on the day, which came in garbage time when the Giants had already lost. During the meat of the contest, Thomas routinely stopped him in his tracks and kept him away from running plays.

Then again, it is fair to mention that the Giants stayed away from the weak side where Garrett featured, but Thomas did a good job sealing him off and keeping him disengaged from the play.

The rookie left tackle finished with average grades but looked quite good on film. He was active in the running game, clearing paths and looking for work, but was also consistent in the passing game. He protected Colt McCoy’s blindside well after helping contribute to an eight-sack performance last week against the Arizona Cardinals.

It was a nice bounce-back for the offensive line as a whole, and the Giants should be truly excited about Thomas’ development and how well he performed against several quality pass rushers.

His final stat-line against Garrett was one sack, one quarterback hit, and two pressures allowed. He didn’t allow a quarterback hurry, which altogether seems to be a fine result considering the player he was up against.

New York Giants’ offensive line needs to bounce back against Myles Garrett & the Browns

The New York Giants‘ offensive line put together a pitiful performance last week. The Giants’ linemen allowed eight total sacks last Sunday, costing New York’s offense 64 total yards. This week, the Giants have another tall task as they prepare to defend against Myles Garrett and the Cleveland Browns’ strong defensive line.

The Cleveland Browns’ defensive line has racked up 34 sacks this season. 10.5 of those sacks have come from elite pass-rusher Myles Garrett alone. Andrew Thomas and the Giants’ offensive line will have their hands full as they try to bounce back from a horrible Week 14 performance.

Myles Garrett and the Browns defensive line

In Week 15, the Giants will defend against a Browns’ defensive line that has been consistently getting after the quarterback this season. Myles Garrett, in particular, has been an absolute game-wrecking in 2020.

Myles Garrett was the first overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Since then, he has been one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL on a year-by-year basis. He had a career-year in 2018, totaling a career-high 13.5 sacks that season. In 2019, though, Garrett was primed to surpass that sack total before being given a lengthy suspension that ended his season. In 10 games last year Garrett racked up 10 sacks.

2020 has seen Garrett put together another elite season. He has 10.5 sacks on the year through 13 games and a career-high 4 forced fumbles. Myles has been a nightmare for opposing offense this season. He leads the NFL in forced turnovers pressures (7 total) and has the second-highest pass-rushing grade in the NFL according to Pro Football Focus.

Myles’s 10.5 sacks are tied for the third-most in the NFL this season. He has been applying a tremendous amount of pressure to quarterbacks, totaling 41 pressures this season (eighth-most) with a 12.4% pressure rate (ninth-best).

Myles Garrett has been a dominant force on the Browns’ defense this season. But he is not the only talented pass-rusher on Cleveland’s underrated defense. Former Giants’ pass-rusher Olivier Vernon is having an excellent season as a member of the Browns this year and is coming off of a 2-sack performance in Week 14. Vernon has 7 sacks on the season and will help Garrett apply pressure to Colt McCoy this Sunday night.

The Giants’ offensive line will have their hands full against Myles Garrett, Olivier Vernon, and Sheldon Richardson (who has earned 4.5 sacks as well). A better performance than what the Giants’ offensive line put together last week is a necessity for New York’s offense to achieve success against the Cleveland Browns.

New York Giants getting everything and more out of 2020 rookie class

New York Giants, Tae Crowder

The New York Giants are on a four-game winning streak. This is the longest winning streak the Giants have been on since 2016. New York is also in first place in the NFC East after beating a tough 8-3 Seahawks team on the road this Sunday. The Giants look poised to make a playoff run this season, proving their legitimacy while beating one of the best offenses in the NFL in Seattle.

One of the biggest difference-makers on the Giants this season has been their 2020 rookie class. New York has seen early returns on nearly every single rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. These rookies have been crucial to the Giants’ success in recent weeks.

Rookies on offense

On the offensive line, the Giants have been seeing their young, inexperienced players improve every single week. Andrew Thomas had the best performance of his young career so far this week against Seattle. For the second week in a row, Thomas did not allow a single pressure in pass protection. He also recorded the highest single-game Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 87.1 overall. Not only was this his highest-graded single game this year, but it was also the highest single-game grade among all first-round offensive tackle picks this season (PFF).

Right beside Andrew Thomas is Shane Lemieux, the Giants’ fifth-round pick from Oregon who has been starting at left guard for the past few weeks. The entire offensive line has played significantly better since Lemieux entered the lineup. Lemieux has had his fair share of ups and downs, but he has been very impressive when considering where he was drafted. Lemieux has also been improving week-by-week and looks like he will be with Big Blue for a long time.

In addition to the two rookies on the offensive line, Nick Gates has gotten better every week playing a brand new position. Initially, a guard, then a tackle, Nick Gates has transitioned to the center position and played at a high level in recent weeks after some great struggles early in the season. Gates is basically a rookie as he is learning and playing a brand new position this year. He has shown tremendous progress, though, and is already locked into a contract extension that should keep him as the Giants’ starting center for years to come.

Undrafted rookie free agent wide receiver Austin Mack also has a game this season as the Giants’ leading receiver. The Giants’ other rookie offensive tackle, Matt Peart (selected 99th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft), has not elevated to starting status yet. However, he has seen playing time while rotating in at both left and right tackle this season. He has been super impressive whenever he is on the field and could play his way into a starting role sooner than later.

Rookies on defense

The defensive side of the ball is where the Giants have really seen their rookies contribute this year. New York has been starting rookies at multiple defensive positions this year. Darnay Holmes, New York’s fourth-round selection out of UCLA, has started at slot cornerback all season long. Holmes has, like the rest, improved every single week. He certainly has not been a liability like the slot cornerback position has been for the Giants in the past. Holmes had his first career interception against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks this week. A promising future seems to be laid out for Darnay Holmes and the Giants’ defense.

The second half of the Giants’ 2020 NFL Draft class was filled with defensive selections. New York drafted the likes of Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, and Tae Crowder in the sixth and seventh rounds. Whether earned through merit or obtained through injuries, these rookies have all seen significant playing time in the Giants’ defense.

Tae Crowder, Mr. Irrelevant from the 2020 NFL Draft, has been starting on the Giants’ defense this year when healthy. Crowder has been so impressive for a player who nearly went undrafted. Crowder recorded a clutch sack against the Seahawks this week and recorded a game-winning scoop-and-score fumble recovery against Washington earlier this season. He has exceeded all expectations as a starting inside linebacker for the Giants this year.

Crowder was one pick away from going undrafted. When speaking of undrafted rookies, it is hard not to talk about Niko Lalos, the Giants’ undrafted gem out of Dartmouth. Lalos was elevated to the Giants’ active roster last week before their matchup with the Bengals. In his first NFL game, Lalos recorded an interception and earned more playing time this week. Of course, the Ivy League animal went ahead and recovered a fumble this week against Seattle. This undrafted rookie has been forcing turnovers left and right.

Cam Brown and Carter Coughlin were two under-the-radar linebackers that the Giants found late in the 2020 NFL Draft. Coughlin has seen increased playing time with EDGE Kyler Fackrell recently placed on injured reserve. Coughlin has played 79 defensive snaps this season, already totaling 6 combined tackles, 1 sack, 8 total pressures, and 6 hurries. Cam Brown has played 48 snaps, recording 5 pressures 3 hurries, and 8 combined tackles already.

Second-round pick Xavier McKinney has yet to see expanded playing time after returning from a fractured foot, but he is sure to be part of New York’s long-term defensive plans as well.

The Giants have seen early returns on nearly every rookie they drafted or signed this offseason. It was a job fantastically done by Dave Gettleman, Joe Judge, and company, acquiring young, talented players this offseason. The future is bright in the Big Apple.

New York Giants rookie offensive tackle Andrew Thomas makes PFF Team of the Week

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants just earned a clutch win over the Seahawks in Seattle to improve their winning streak to four games. The Giants had a phenomenal outing defensively, holding Seattle to only 12 total points in the contest. But on the other side of the ball, the Giants’ offense got going on the ground while struggling to gain yardage through the air with backup quarterback Colt McCoy.

Despite the Giants’ struggles to pass the ball, gaining only 105 passing yards, the offensive line did an excellent job keeping their backup quarterback upright. McCoy was sacked only twice, losing a total of only five yards. McCoy was rarely under pressure, especially from his blindside as rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas had a stellar performance on sunday.

The key to the Giants’ offensive success son Sunday was the offensive line. New York’s lead blockers helped the Giants gain a total of 190 rushing yards. The Giants found great success running behind Andrew Thomas and the left side of the offensive line. Wayne Gallman had 10 rushing attempts to the left side, gaining 102 rushing yards on runs to the left.

Andrew Thomas had such an excellent performance this week that he was honored with a spot on Pro Football Focus’s Week 13 Team of the Week.

Andrew Thomas in Week 13

According to Mike Renner of Pro Football Focus, “Thomas has looked like a completely different player the past few weeks,” which has been “huge for the Giants.” Thomas was selected as the Week 13 PFF Team of the Week left tackle after an incredible performance against Washington.

Andrew Thomas put together 86.7 pass-block and 84.3 run-block grades against Seattle, earning him a spot on Pro Football Focus’s Week 13 Team of the Week. Thomas’s 87.1 overall grade is the highest single-game grade among the first-round offensive tackle picks this season.

Thomas has not allowed any quarterback pressures in the last two weeks. He has been excellent for the Giants in both pass protection and run-blocking in recent weeks. The Giants are finally seeing their fourth-overall pick from the 2020 NFL Draft perform like a top offensive tackle talent and their offense is thriving because of him.