The New York Giants passed on Mekhi Becton, Jedrick Wills and Tristan Wirfs to make Andrew Thomas the No. 4 overall pick and first offensive tackle selected in the 2020 NFL Draft. With a year of evidence to parse, did the Giants make the right decision?
Becton and Wills, playing left tackle, and Wirfs, playing right tackle, had better statistical seasons than Thomas. The Giants’ left tackle ended up surrendering the most sacks (10) and second-most pressures (57) of any tackle in the league.
On a videoconference with media Tuesday, Thomas wasn’t interested in dwelling on comparisons those other three first-round draft picks.
“I look at it as running my own race,” Thomas said. “I want all those guys to be successful, but for me I want to be the best player I can be, the best player I can be for the Giants, for my teammates, and that’s what I’m working to be.”
Thomas was left spinning his wheels in the starting blocks of that race, surrendering 39 of the 57 pressures he allowed over the season’s first eight games.
“Obviously didn’t start out the way I wanted to, but being a rookie playing left tackle in the NFL, it’s a tough deal,” said Thomas. “It just took time.”
On Monday, Giants center Nick Gates referred to Thomas as an “even-keeled” person who is able to “stay the same way no matter if he’s getting yelled at or he’s made the game-winning block.”
Thomas admitted Tuesday that even-keeled nature helped him navigate the rough start he and the Giants experienced, as well as the mid-season change in offensive line coaches from Marc Colombo to Dave DeGuglielmo.
“If you don’t know who you are and understand what you bring to the table playing in the NFL, playing left tackle and not performing the way you might want to it can be a lot on somebody if you don’t understand who you are and understand what you’ve worked for,” Thomas said.
“Being even-keeled, understanding that when I play well that’s great, what do I need to work on? If I don’t play well, what do I need to work on? I think that keeps me steady regardless of the highs and lows of a season.
“If you know who you are, know what you bring to the table then it’ll all eventually come out.”
What Thomas is began to come out over the second half of the season when he had three games in which he did not allow any pressures, and allowed only 18 over the season’s final eight games.
Thomas hopes to continue that improvement over the offseason.
“At left tackle you have to have very good technique, and the biggest thing for me is making it muscle memory,” Thomas said. “The things I’ve learned over the year, to make ‘em natural so I don’t have to think about ‘em, they just naturally happen.”