The New York Giants added a security blanket for their two most recent first-round picks by taking offensive tackle Andrew Thomas of Georgia with the fourth pick in the NFL draft.
Thomas started 41 games for the Bulldogs in three seasons, the last 26 at left tackle. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder was considered the most complete tackle in the draft, but some experts felt others had a bigger upside.
His selection gives general manager Dave Gettleman one of his beloved “hog mollies” and a hulk who can open holes for running back Saquon Barkley and keep quarterback Daniel Jones on his feet.
“The one thing that sticks out about him if you watch the top pass rushers with maybe the exception of a couple, they had to go against him,” new coach Joe Judge said. “Watch his college tape. He’s going against guys you are going to see drafted in the next couple of days. He does a heck of a job. He plays big in big games.”
The major question for the Giants will be whether they use Thomas on right side or left. Nate Solder has played left tackle the past two years and the right side is open after Mike Remmers signed with Kansas City.
Judge said training camp is going to determine who plays where on a line that struggled last season.
The choice was a surprise in some ways. Tristan Wirfs of Iowa and Jedrick Wills of Alabama were felt to have greater upsides.
“We spent a lot of time on this and we want to fix this up as a line once and for all,” Gettleman said. “Andrew certainly has a hell of a pedigree as a three-year starter in the Southeastern Conference. He has played against some real quality defensive ends during his college career and has played big-time ball in front of a lot of people.”
The Giants also had Clemson linebacker and playmaker Isaiah Simmons on their radar. He is an athletic defender who transitioned from safety in 2017 to a starting linebacker position in 2018 and was eventually named the Butkus Award winner as the nation’s top linebacker.
This marked the third straight draft the Giants have had a top-6 pick.
The Giants are hoping that adding Thomas to a young core that includes Jones and running back Saquon Barkley, taken with the second overall pick in 2018, will help guide them back to the playoffs, which they've only reached once in the eight seasons since winning the Super Bowl in 2012.
The 2016 squad was bounced in the first round by the Packers, after finishing second in the NFC East that year.
The Giants will have nine more picks in the draft, with most being the fourth pick in each round. They will have four in the final round, including the last pick overall at No. 255.