ne of the few bright spots for the New York Giants last season was left tackle Andrew Thomas. The former first-round draft pick really blossomed into a reliable blind-side protector in Year 2, starting all 13 of the games in which he appeared.
But as solid as Thomas was last season, he’s not guaranteed to start at left tackle this season. The Giants own two top-10 picks in next week’s NFL, and they’re likely targeting an offensive tackle with one of those picks. If they find one that is a Day 1 starter at left tackle, does that mean Thomas will move to right tackle?
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Giants head coach Brian Daboll was asked this question at the team’s first voluntary minicamp practice on Wednesday.
“I can’t answer that right now,” Daboll said, per Zack Rosenblatt on Twitter.
To be clear, Daboll isn’t looking to replace Thomas at left tackle. He just isn’t letting Thomas’ emergence at the position impact New York’s draft plans.
“He’s done a good job at [left tackle],” Daboll said of Thomas, per Ryan Dunleavy on Twitter. “We’re going to take the best player available.”
Although Thomas has played well on the left side, a move to right tackle could help the Giants solve the offensive line puzzle. The interior looks much improved, after the additions of Jon Feliciano, Max Garcia and Mark Glowinski in free agency. If a first-round rookie comes in and is most comfortable at left tackle, moving Thomas to the right side could complete a winning configuration.
The Giants’ Top Three OT Targets in the Draft
When it comes to offensive tackle prospects in this year’s NFL Draft, three names have been heavily connected to the Giants: Alabama’s Evan Neal, N.C. State’s Ikem Ekwonu and Mississippi State’s Charles Cross. Most analysts have the Giants taking one of these three tackles with either the 5th- or 7th-overall pick in their recent mock drafts.
Neal started out at right guard as a freshman at Alabama in 2019, then moved to right tackle in 2020 and finished his collegiate career at left tackle in 2021. If he ends up being the pick, his versatility and previous experience may allow him to start out on the right side. In this scenario, Thomas might be able to keep his job at left tackle.
Ekwonu and Cross, on the other hand, have no collegiate experience playing right tackle. If the Giants select either of these prospects, Thomas’ days as the team’s starting left tackle may be numbered.
Forget Right Tackle, Move Thomas to Tight End
If the potential transition to right tackle does not go smoothly for Thomas, the Giants can rest easy knowing they can always deploy him at tight end. Last season, the 315-pound lineman flashed his athleticism on this gorgeous touchdown catch.
I will never pass up an opportunity to include that play in a story about Thomas, by the way.
Regardless of the exact position Thomas plays in 2022, the Giants are getting closer to figuring things out along the offensive line.