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Giants’ Andrew Thomas is learning to swim in the deep end

That’s a good analogy for Thomas’ first two NFL games

New York Giants v Chicago Bears
Andrew Thomas blocking Robert Quinn.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

New York Giants rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas has faced T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn — a quartet of incredible pass rushers — in his first two weeks as an NFL player.

He’s loving it.

“I knew all those guys are very talented. That’s the beauty of the NFL, it’s every week, you’re going against the best,” Thomas said. “Especially playing left tackle., some of the best pass rushers in the world, so I have to be prepared every week. It was a great start going against some guys like that. Some of those guys are the cream of the crop in the NFL so it’s a good start for me.”

Thomas has given up one sack and nine overall pressures in 93 pass-blocking snaps. That puts him tied for last among 52 qualifying tackles in pass blocking efficiency, with a score of 94.6.

Offensive line coach Marc Colombo is looking beyond the numbers when he assesses the No. 4 overall pick.

“He’s gone against two great pass rushers and he’s held his own for the most part,” Colombo said. “There’s a lot of room for improvement and Andrew knows this. It’s really good for him to get these type of pass rushers right off the bat because his whole career is going to be these type of pass rushers. He’s capable of shutting down anyone he wants to. We just have to keep pushing the fundamentals with him, but I like where he’s headed.”

For Thomas, that “room for improvement” needs to come in better hand usage and continuing to learn to vary his pass sets.

“You have to be very specific in your technique every play. You can’t get lulled to sleep. You can’t revert to old habits. You have to make sure you have the same technique,” Thomas said. “The biggest thing for me is having different types of sets, different types of approaches to guys. If you do the same thing over and over, they will adjust to it.”

Thomas faced top-tier pass rushers in the SEC. He said the difference at the NFL level is mental more than physical.

“I wouldn’t say necessarily the power and speed, but it’s how refined they are in their moves. They understand what they’re doing. They take advantage of things you might do,” Thomas said. “In college you might overset, they may not take it or you might be too long with your outside hand punch. In the NFL they take advantage of everything you do that might not be correct.”