The New York Giants missed out on Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young, arguably the best player in the 2020 NFL Draft, last week when the Washington Redskins selected Young with the second overall pick.
The Giants, picking fourth, countered that measure by taking Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, considered by many to be the best all-around left tackle prospect coming out of the collegiate ranks this year.
The Giants and Redskins – as NFC East Division rivals – face each other twice each season and Pro Football Focus believes the Young-Thomas head-to-head matchup is the top rookie battle to watch in 2020, and perhaps beyond.
“Two of the top four picks in the draft will see plenty of each other in the coming years. Young is the best defensive player in the draft, coming off the best season we’ve seen for an edge defender, with a 96.0 overall grade. Thomas has the cleanest grading profile of any offensive tackle in a deep class, as he ranked fifth as a pass blocker last year at 89.0 and second as a run blocker at 91.7. Thomas likely starts his career at right tackle, while Chase Young may start on the other side, but look for him to move around to maximize his rushing skills from both sides of the line.”
The incumbent at left tackle for the Giants is Nate Solder, who had a down year in 2019. He is 32 and heading into his 10th NFL season. Solder is in the third year of a bloated four-year deal and is no longer effective in handling speed rushers which was evident last year as rookie Daniel Jones took a bit of a pounding. That opens the door for Thomas to start at left tackle, a position he played at a high level at Georgia.
Whether or not Thomas will get matched up with Young regularly remains to be seen. If the Redskins employ a 3-4, you can count on the two tangling a lot. If head coach Ron Rivera installs the 4-3, Young will likely still line up at linebacker, but it could change his responsibilities in the passing game on many downs.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, though, to hold Young back from rushing the passer. Yes, he can do it all, but for the Redskins to get their bang for the buck, they need him going downhill on most plays.
When he does, it would behoove the Giants to have Thomas there waiting for him.