As the starting left tackle for the New York Giants, Andrew Thomas is called upon to block many of the best edge defenders in the NFL.
But who is his favorite player to go up against? Thomas was asked this question in a recent interview with Bobby Skinner and Justin Penik of Talkin’ Giants, and the third-year offensive lineman singled out Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett.
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Here’s the full interview (skip to the 20:41 mark in the video for the part about Barnett):
Why does Thomas like going up against Barnett?
“I actually like Barnett from the Eagles,” Thomas said. “I think he’s slept on a little bit, but like, his skill set doesn’t go well with mine. I think I’m better with more elusive guys, guys trying to run around the edge. But he’s like a shorter, stockier guy with good power.”
Barnett is 6-foot-3 and 259 pounds, compared to Thomas who is 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds. Thomas allowed zero sacks and zero QB hits in two matchups against Barnett and the Eagles last season, but Barnett did manage to record two tackles for a loss in the first meeting and another in the second meeting.
With Thomas establishing himself as New York’s franchise left tackle, and Barnett signing a contract extension with the Eagles this offseason, we should see plenty of great battles between these two NFC East rivals in the future.
Thomas’ First Impression of Evan Neal
After inheriting Thomas from the Dave Gettleman era, Giants general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll decided to shore up the opposite side of the line in the 2022 NFL Draft. They did that by taking Evan Neal out of Alabama with the seventh-overall pick.
With OTA workouts underway this week, Thomas and Neal had their first opportunity to meet and work together on the practice field. In the interview with Talkin’ Giants, Thomas was asked for his first impression of Neal and he provided a glowing review.
“Real good guy, it seems like, so far,” Thomas said of Neal. “He doesn’t talk that much, but I think that he’s going to be a great player. He’s eager to learn already, asking questions how I get the plays, how I understand them. Definitely on the lookout for him to be a great player for us.”
With Thomas and Neal in place, the Giants’ offensive line features a potentially dominant set of bookends.
Thomas Also Talked About His Touchdown Catch
You could probably tell by the fact that it was filmed in a van, but this was a really fun and laid-back interview that allowed Thomas to show a little bit of his personality. Of course, he was asked about this touchdown catch from 2021.
“Ever since I was young, I always talked about being tight end or playing receiver,” Thomas said. “All the way back to high school, and none of my coaches believed me. So, finally getting a chance to run the play, it was the best moment for sure.”
Thomas had more touchdown catches (1) than Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney had combined (2) last season, but does he use that as trash talk against his teammates?
“I don’t have to say anything,” Thomas said. “They already know.”