Pa Jeff Schwartz
FOX Sports NFL analyst

The New York Giants selected Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. After nearly two and a half seasons, the Giants should be thrilled with his development. He is a prime example of how a player can develop with time and practice.

With a stable offense and one offensive coach, Thomas continues to push for inclusion in the top tier of left tackles.

Before we begin with a full breakdown of Thomas’ film from Sunday’s 27-22 win over the Packers in London, the Giants offense should be discussed first. This isn’t meant to take away from Thomas, but when evaluating an offensive lineman’s play, it’s important to look at what he’s being asked to do.

New York’s offense is built around limited quarterback play Daniel Joneslack of offensive weapons outside of the running back Saquon Barkley and a shaky interior offensive line. The Giants’ passing attack is designed for Jones to get the ball out quickly and avoid standing in the field for long periods of time. The Giants move the pocket, run a ton of play action, call quick passes and use the screen game.

Thomas is rarely tasked with true pass protection, where offensive linemen are most vulnerable. Again, it’s not because he can’t do it, it’s just the plan of the offense. Offensive tackles tend to defend “better” overall when in an offense like the Giants.

Passed the degree of protection: B

My main concern with Thomas coming out of college is the use of his hands and that he often doesn’t mirror his hands with that footwork. He used his long arms and strength to make blocks instead of landing quality shots with a good foundation.

Thomas fixed those problems in the NFL. He hides and directs the offense rather than throwing and controlling the lineman. He has smooth footwork that he uses to put himself in a good relative position between himself and the defender. He can then throw his arms out to grab the defender and control them with his power.

He is so big and strong that defenders cannot move him.

Thomas excels in play action defense. It is beautiful to look at. He beats defenders with excellent initial quickness, allowing him to make contact as quickly as possible and control reputation. He rarely leans over, so when a defender makes a secondary move, he can easily mirror that move.

The only reason Thomas got a B in pass protection against the Packers is because of the sacks he allowed. It’s not that he authorized the dismissal. That’s how he allowed it.

The Giants ran the pass game and Thomas was the man on defense. He noticed the pressure from the Packers coming from outside his lineup. We know this because we see him pointing to a defender outside the defense who he correctly identifies as applying pressure.

If that quarterback comes off the edge, that means his defensive end will immediately make an inside move. The quarterback did just that, and Thomas was beaten inside because he received a bad pass. Thomas is good enough not to let that happen when he sees the pressure before the snap.

It was hard to put a run-blocking mark on Thomas. As with pass protection, the most stressful blocks are the ones where you’re one-on-one with no help.

The Giants’ rushing scheme didn’t feature Thomas on many individual blocks Sunday. He deserves an “A” because he handled those situations well, including a nice cutoff block in the first game.

On the front side of zone runs, Thomas can fit in well and move the defender when he deploys his hips. His double blocks with the left guard are solid. As a rule, they move and do their work.

I love how Thomas works to finish all those running blocks and is rarely on the ground or out of position to get the job done.

Jeff Schwartz played eight seasons in the NFL with five different teams. He started at right tackle at Oregon State University for three seasons and was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection his senior year. He is an NFL analyst for FOX Sports. Follow him on Twitter @GeoffSchwartz.

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