Back-to-back matchups against pass-rushing duos of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree, and then Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn would be daunting for any offensive tackle, let alone a 21-year-old making his first two career NFL starts.
Safe to say New York Giants first-round pick Andrew Thomas has had his fair share of welcome to the NFL moments over the first two weeks of the season. This is especially true when you compare him to his fellow offensive tackle draft class, namely his intra-city counterpart, Jets’ Mekhi Becton, who has posted an impressive 79.7 overall Pro Football Focus grade on the year.
Thomas, on the other hand, checks in with a less-than-stellar grade of just 56.0. The ex-Georgia standout currently grades out behind the likes of Bucs’ Tristan Wirfs (79.7) and Cleveland’s Jedrick Wills Jr. (66.4), only outpacing Miami’s Austin Jackson on the year, who’s 47.9 overall PFF grade stands as the lowest amongst any first-round offensive tackle over the first two weeks.
Here’s what PFF’s Sam Monson had to say about Thomas’ early-season struggles:
2020 overall grade: 56.0
You could be forgiven for thinking Thomas’ below-average grade this week was a result of Khalil Mack taking the rookie to task, but the majority of his losses didn’t come at the hands of Mack. The Chicago All-Pro did beat him for a hurry and another clean pass-rush win, but the majority of the damage came against Robert Quinn, with some of the Bears’ interior players causing Thomas some problems in the run game.
It hasn’t been a tremendously encouraging start for Thomas, but on the other hand, he has been up against some pretty fierce competition for his first two weeks of NFL football and just about kept his head above water.
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Thomas Eyes Improvement vs. Injury-Stricken 49ers
One would assume the fact that the 49ers will be without both Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas on Sunday as a break for the Giants tackle after two weeks of facing elite edge-rushers. However, don’t try and tell Thomas that.
“They are very talented on their defensive line,” Thomas told members of the media earlier this week. “They put a lot of faith in their front seven, all those guys are talented. They brought in some guys recently that will be up there to play for Sunday. We just have to be prepared for a very talented defensive line across the board.”
Despite his struggles to kick off the year, Big Blue’s coaching staff remains extremely high on the No. 4 overall draft pick.
“The athleticism always stands out with him, whether it was the tape coming out of Georgia or early in training camp when we got to see him in person,” head coach Joe Judge said of Thomas. “The athleticism definitely stands out, but I’d say how mentally tough he is (has impressed him the most).”
“I think he’s handled it really well,” offensive line coach Marc Colombo noted. “He’s gone against great pass rusher and he’s held his own for the most part. There’s a lot of room for improvement and Andrew knows this.”
That he does, as Thomas has zeroed-in on areas of his game that he must improve upon moving forward.
“The biggest thing I have been working on is just my hands in pass pro,” Thomas said. “Being more consistent with them with my strength and my punch, that’s something that I’m still working on. I made improvements but I’m still trying to get better every day.”