The New York Giants went with their largest need, drafting offensive tackle Andrew Thomas out of Georgia with the No. 4 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night.
Thomas brings legitimate, young talent to a Giants offensive line that has struggled for consistency over the past few years.
Veteran left tackle Nate Solder has struggled over his first two seasons with the Giants while Cameron Fleming — signed in free agency last month — hasn’t started more than seven games in a season during his six-year career.
The Giants’ decision to draft Thomas provides much-needed depth at the position and immediate competition along the offensive line for the 2020 season.
His selection brings somewhat of a surprise with it considering the Giants had been linked so heavily to Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs in recent weeks.
But based on pedigree alone, it’s easy to see why the Giants opted to go with Thomas.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder was a three-year starter on Georgia’s offensive line — a unit that is often one of the best in the nation.
For the 12-2 Bulldogs, who came away with a Sugar Bowl title, Thomas was the anchor of the line — allowing running back D’Andre Swift to have a big 1,218-yard season despite having just 196 rush attempts. That’s an average of nine yards per carry.
His strength in the run game bodes well for Barkley, who will make it a point to run behind the Georgia man.
Thomas’ pass protection, however, has left something to be desired. He’s shown a bad habit of lunging or leaning, which makes him easier to beat if he guesses a rusher’s route incorrectly.
His strength, though, allows him to divert defenders away with seeming ease and his recovery speed is promising.
If the Giants can work on his composure in the rush, he could be the man on the offensive line for years to come.