After a dreadful start to the season, the tackle has been one of the best rookies and offensive linemen in football over the past few weeks.
The New York Giants organization and fanbase had reason to be concerned in regard to their first pick of the 2020 draft.
Offensive tackle Andrew Thomas had a pretty terrible start to his NFL career: his form was quite poor and he looked lost and incapable of blocking anyone.
It was almost always a given that whoever he faced was going to get the better of him. It was early, but it appeared as though general manager Dave Gettleman had made yet another drafting mistake.
However, everything changed once the calendar flipped to November. Since then, Thomas has looked like a completely different player — a developed one at that.
Thomas has been New York’s most improved player thus far and is getting better and better each week. He was the Giants’ best performer in their upset win over the Seattle Seahawks in Week 13.
That was also the top game of his young career. Thomas earned an 87.1 overall Pro Football Focus grade that matchup, including an 86.7 grade on pass-blocking snaps and even an 84.3 grade on run-blocking snaps, the latter-most mark being the best of his career.
For the second straight game, Thomas allowed zero pressures on pass-blocking snaps. PFF’s Mike Renner considered Thomas to be the best rookie of the week and he was named to PFF’s Week 13 team.
🗣️ @PFF_Mike's top Rookies of Week 13
1. Andrew Thomas, Giants OT
2. Cameron Dantzler, Vikings CB
3. Jonathan Taylor, Colts RB
4. Justin Jefferson, Vikings WR
5. Josh Uche, Patriots ED pic.twitter.com/dfyiLDChh0
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 7, 2020
Thomas’ development had been evident in quarterback Daniel Jones’ improved play, but his success against Seattle also made backup quarterback Colt McCoy’s job much easier.
The rookie appears to be settling into the league, but the firing of offensive line coach Marc Colombo might have something to do with his recent success.
Paul Alexander, a former NFL offensive line coach who trained Thomas prior to the draft, noted that he wasn’t displaying any of the techniques that made him so good in college. He was playing aggressively and noticeably getting beaten inside.
Thomas had been improving before Colombo was fired in mid-November but he, as well as his fellow linemen, have taken a giant step forward since.
Colombo and head coach Joe Judge apparently had more than one disagreement over the technique of several linemen, including Thomas. That being the case, the improvement of all or most of the players within that unit makes sense.
The Giants had been unsuccessful the past several years for many reasons, but one of the more significant ones was their weak offensive line.
They’re now proving how much of a positive impact a strong line can have on a team’s overall performance. If Thomas continues to play this well or even improve further, his job as the team’s left tackle of the future will be secure.
The Giants’ remaining schedule is quite difficult, and Thomas will be put to the test again next week when his team takes on the Arizona Cardinals. Can he and the Giants take advantage of their momentum and Arizona’s recent struggles?