Two offseasons ago, New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman made a huge splash in his first free agency on the job, doling out a massive $62 million contract to offensive tackle Nate Solder. The belief was that Solder would help fortify a much-maligned offensive line in East Rutherford.
However, fast-forward two seasons to current day, and Gettleman and the Giants brass are likely slapping themselves at the idea of committing nearly $35 million guaranteed to an aging, rapidly diminishing talent such as Solder.
Big Blue decided this offseason that enough was enough when it comes to Solder’s poor play. While he’s almost certainly guaranteed to stick around for at least one more year, the roster moves New York made has guaranteed that Solder’s tenure with the team is approaching its near end.
Andrew Thomas, New York’s Biggest X-Factor?
Those said moves, of course, include drafting Georgia’s Andrew Thomas fourth-overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, along with UConn’s Matt Peart two rounds later in Round 3. While Peart is perceived as more of a project, the former enters his rookie campaign with massive pressure on his enormous 6-foot-5-inch, 315-pound framed shoulders. So much so that Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox has pegged him as New York’s “Biggest X-Factor” for the 2020 season.
Quarterback Daniel Jones had most of the pieces in place that he needed to succeed as a rookie last season. He had a solid receiving trio in Darius Slayton, Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard. He had a high-end tight end in Evan Engram, and he had an elite running back in Saquon Barkley. What Jones lacked was an efficient franchise-caliber left tackle.
Nate Solder allowed a whopping 11 sacks last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Well, the New York Giants might just have remedied the situation by snagging former Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in April’s draft. The rookie should have an opportunity to supplant Solder before the start of the regular season.
If Thomas can take the starting job from Solder, it could mean good things are ahead for Jones. While the former Duke signal-caller should show some Year 2 growth anyway, having better protection on his blind side could hustle that progress along.
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Where Will Thomas Play in 2020?
The question of if Andrew Thomas will start for the Giants in 2020 is moot. Instead, the biggest head-scratcher pertaining to Thomas in his rookie season is where he will play along Big Blue’s offensive line.
Thomas has experience playing both tackle positions during his days at Georgia, although the Giants clearly used a top-5 pick on him in hopes that he would become the blind-side protector of Daniel Jones sooner rather than later.
With that said, should Thomas slide in at left tackle, that would almost certainly mean flipping Nate Solder over to the right side of the line. A tall task for a player who has played predominately left tackle for each of the past eight seasons.
However, if Thomas proves in training camp that he’s ready to man the left tackle position, there’s no reason to delay the inevitable.
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