ATHENS, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 12: Kobe Smith #95 of the South Carolina Gamecocks reacts after a defensive stop against the Georgia Bulldogs in the second half at Sanford Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Athens, Georgia.
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The New York Giants drafted offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 overall pick. What can he truly bring to this franchise?

Ryan Honey

On Thursday night, the New York Giants finally made their long-awaited first-round decision by drafting Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 overall pick. Thomas was phenomenal at the collegiate level, having earned first-team All-SEC honors twice. He was additionally a unanimous All-American this past year.

Some were excited about the move. Others didn’t love it and preferred linebacker Isaiah Simmons, but realized the absolute need for an offensive tackle was clear.

Regardless of your take, all of us will need to wait and see whether Thomas will transfer his collegiate success over to the pros.

And just how dominant was his play in college, you ask?

Well, let’s take a look and ultimately see what he can bring to this franchise.

Film room notes

The above pair of games includes the 2018 SEC Championship between Georgia and Alabama (a matchup in which the Bulldogs lost) along with Georgia’s 2019 victory over Notre Dame. Thomas, No. 71, plays the left tackle spot in either contest.

All in all, Thomas carries a dominating presence on the offensive line. He has great strength and athleticism for someone his size and uses each quality to his absolute advantage.

Right off the bat in the Alabama matchup, Thomas proves he’s able to explode out of his stance, something that will be nothing but beneficial at the next level. He then utilizes great hand placement on the defender while driving his feet and finishing off the block. Using these successful tactics will help Thomas spring holes for Saquon Barkley.

Yes, Giants fans, you deserve to be excited about this.

During the above play, Thomas portrays athleticism in a passing situation by putting his hands on the defensive end in order to slow down their inside pursuit before resetting himself and preventing the stunting defensive tackle from reaching the backfield.

As displayed, he has quick feet, great lateral agility, a low center of gravity, an athletic base, and superb vision on pass blocking scenarios. He’s also able to pick up anyone coming his way by keeping his head on a swivel.

He doesn’t catch his blocks, which would be an issue in the pros. Thomas meets the defender and uses his entire body to seal them off, something he was outstanding at during his time with the Bulldogs.

Thomas doesn’t just initially slow his opponent down either, as he’s strong enough to hold his blocks and always plays to the whistle.

In the above clip, Thomas shows off his strength by putting the edge defender to the turf with one simple swipe to the shoulder pad.

In the win over Notre Dame, Thomas, once again, showed how he can put his body and strength into his blocks. He meets the defender and puts that quality on display in the above D’Andre Swift touchdown run…

…and then again on this 16-yard run from running back Brian Herrien.

Throughout this matchup, Thomas also did a great job defending defensive end Julian Okwara, a great speed rusher who may be off the draft board by the second round this Friday.

Thomas forces Okwara out of the above play with his evident strength and lateral agility, and it only took one swipe of that right arm to Julian’s left shoulder to complete the job.

Thomas then employs great hand placement on Okwara and uses his body to drive him off the line on this third-quarter play, qualities that will certainly sit well with the Giants coaching staff in 2020 and beyond.

Conclusion

Thomas checks out on all of the important qualities: great size, athleticism, agility, strength, aggression, you name it. In college, he was able to maximize the potential of an offensive unit that included Jake Fromm and Swift, two guys who will surely be drafted this weekend.

Of course, NFL pass rushers and defensive linemen are a different breed than college athletes. But with an efficient developmental process and assistance from both offensive coordinator Jason Garrett and offensive line coach Marc Colombo, Thomas will turn into the tackle this franchise has needed for quite some time.

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