Andrew Thomas made huge strides during the 2021 season toward becoming the top-tier left tackle the New York Giants thought he could be when they made him the No. 4 overall pick, and first offensive tackle selected, in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Can Thomas continue that improvement in 2022 and become one of the game’s best left tackles? Let’s discuss Thomas as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.
By the numbers
Position: Left tackle
Contract: Year 3 of four-year, $32.345 million deal [Fully guaranteed] | 2022 cap hit: $8.821 million
Career to date
Thomas’s career has been a tale of two vastly different seasons.
There was his awful rookie season — especially the first half of his rookie season — that saw Thomas give up the second-most quarterback pressures of any tackle in the league. He also posted the worst pass blocking efficiency rating (94.2) of any qualifying tackle graded by Pro Football Focus.
There was a much better — outstanding, really — second season. Only 18 pressures and two sacks allowed in 13 games. A 97.9 pass blocking efficiency score that placed him sixth among 47 qualifying tackles. An overall PFF grade of 78.9 that placed him 17th among 54 qualifiers.
Thomas was placed in a difficult situation as a rookie with tensions between head coach Joe Judge and offensive line coach Marc Colombo, who was replaced midseason by Dave DeGuglielmo — a man who admitted to having little use for rookies. Thomas’s second season was likely more indicative of the player he can become.
“It wasn’t fair for Andrew Thomas to come into the Giants situation that he was in in terms of the conflict between offensive line coaches and head coach and offensive coordinators,” Duke Manyweather of OL Masterminds told Big Blue View. “It was really just a perfect storm that a rookie franchise tackle did not need to be involved in.
“Andrew Thomas’s best football is still ahead of him.”
Thomas on the left and rookie Evan Neal on the right will be expected to anchor a revamped, and hopefully improved, offensive line.
Thomas was rock solid for the Giants in 2021 despite missing four games in the middle of the season due to foot and ankle injuries, and appearing to have limited mobility the remainder of the year.
Thomas had ankle surgery this offseason for the second time in as many season, and was a limited participant in the team’s on-field work this spring.
He told the team’s official website that he will be ready for training camp.
“Rehab is coming along pretty well. I’m doing everything the trainers ask me to do,” Thomas said on an O-linemen edition of the Giants Huddle podcast. “Definitely moving a lot better and I’m prepared to be ready for training camp.
“It’s definitely frustrating, but it’s part of the business, learning how to navigate being injured because you’re never going to feel 100 percent. But I felt like last year I started to make some strides. It’s a little frustrating sometimes when you can’t be on the field with your teammates.”
Thomas is often compared to the other three tackles taken in the first round of the 2020 draft — Jedrick Wills (10th, Browns), Mekhi Becton (11th, Jets), Tristan Wirfs (13th, Bucs). The only one who has been better is Wirfs, an All-Pro at right tackle for Tampa Bay last season.
Thomas doesn’t like the comparisons to those players, saying he is running his own race. As long as that troublesome ankle is healthy, there is little reason to believe Thomas won’t continue to run that race successfully and be a very good player.