“We want to fix this offensive line once and for all.”
That was New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman shortly after the team selected offensive tackle Andrew Thomas with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2020 NF Draft on Thursday night.
Gettleman was explaining both why the Giants used their first pick on an offensive tackle, and why they made Thomas the first tackle taken in the draft.
When Gettleman became Giants’ general manager at the end of the 2017 season one of the things he was adamant about during his introductory press conference was that the team’s porous offensive line had to be fixed. A number of moves have been made in free agencyand the draft the past two offseasons to address that, but the results have been unsatisfactory.
The Giants believe that adding Thomas will be a step toward getting that taken care of. The Giants believe that Thomas’ experience playing successfully against top pass rusher in the difficult Southeastern Conference will translate to the NFL.
“We spent a lot of time on this and we want to fix this offensive line once and for all,” Gettleman said. “Andrew has a hell of a pedigree. Three-year starter. He’s played big-time ball in front of a lot of people ... He’s ready.”
Gettleman said he was particularly impressed watching Thomas handle Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen, who had 10.5 sacks as a rookie after being selected No. 7 by the Jacksonville Jaguars a season ago, in a 2018 game.
“You watch him go against the top pass rushers (on the tape), he does his job, he plays big in big games, that’s very important,” said rookie head coach Joe Judge. “That’s what we look for, guys who can play hard and at big stages and compete.”
Gettleman added that the development of second-year quarterback Daniel Jones was also part of the decision to select Thomas.
“I always chuckle when people say ‘You draft a QB, you get him weapons.’ No, when you draft a QB you get people in front of him,” Gettleman said. “This was an important piece for us.”
Gettleman and Judge said that Thomas’s ability to play both left and right tackle factored into the decision to select him. Judge indicated that whenever the Giants get to training camp Thomas will initially compete on both sides.
“We’re gonna let training camp figure that out,” Judge said when asked where Thomas, and incumbent left tackle Nate Solder, would line up.
Gettleman indicated that the Giants had some fruitless discussions about trading down from No. 4.
“We had conversations, but everybody was touchy-feely,” Gettleman said. “Maybe yes, maybe no, there were no firm offers anywhere.”
So, the Giants went ahead and took the offensive tackle they wanted most for version 3.0 of Gettleman’s offensive line build.