Andrew Thomas is the Best Offensive Tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft
In the last ten NFL Drafts, there have been 44 offensive tackles taken in the first round alone, with no fewer than at least two in each respective year. So, to say it's a valued position in terms of draft capital would be a bit of an understatement.
And though the premium has been placed on the position for quite some time, this 2020 NFL Draft class could very well standout at the tackle position. Andrew Thomas, Tristan Wirfs, Jedrick Wills, Mekhi Becton, Austin Jackson, and Josh Jones have all received first-round grades from draft evaluators.
In one of the more crowded offensive tackle drafts we've seen since 2015 — when six tackles were taken in the first 32 picks — Andrew Thomas is, in my opinion, the best available and here's why:
I think in today's NFL if you are going to play left tackle, you better be a nimble athlete that can handle speed rushes from some of the quickest 250 to 300-pound athletes in the world. Though Bruce Smith would dominate in quite literally any era, the modern defensive end is built more like Von Miller and Khalil Mack than the barrelling Smith.
Thomas is more than agile enough to play out on the edge and showed the ability to eliminate the edge rush at an elite level in the SEC during his time as a Georgia Bulldog.
When you draft an offensive tackle in the Top-10, you expect that individual to last at least a decade on your squad protecting your quarterback. This means they will most likely outlast any offensive coordinator or offensive system not ran by the folks in Foxborough. So, you better know that tackle can do anything he's asked at an elite level.
Thomas has the strength and base to play in a power run scheme, while also having the athleticism to excel in an outside zone or stretch scheme.
Unlike Tristan Wirfs and Jedrick Wills, an NFL team knows — without a shadow of a doubt — that Andrew Thomas can play both right & left tackle at an All-SEC level. So, if you are a team like the Giants with the fourth pick and you have such a heavy financial investment in a guy like Nate Solder, then leave him be until his contract is up and then slide Thomas over without any hesitation.
Georgia fans will recall Thomas going through an identical situation between his freshman and sophomore seasons at UGA after Isaiah Wynn departed to become a first-round draft pick by the New England Patriots.
There's even been some speculation throughout this process of whether or not Thomas would be asked to move to guard at the next level, which I personally find uproarious, but that's not to say he couldn't make that transition seamlessly either if asked.
As if being a consensus All-Freshman team member, two-time All-SEC and All-American as a sophomore and junior, and the Jacobs Trophy winner weren't enough, he's checked every box at the combine in Indianapolis so far as well. Coming in as the prototypical tackle in terms of measurables.
At 6'5 1/8", Andrew Thomas has an arm length of 36 1/8". He's one of just three offensive tackles at the NFL combine with at least 36" arms, and the only one of which with a first-round grade so far. And it's something that you'll find he uses to his advantage on tape as well.
Rarely do you see defenders acquire inside hand positioning on Thomas because they simply can't. He's got hands-on before they can even think about working a move.
After 41 starts in the SEC, there's really not much Andrew Thomas hasn't seen in terms of talent lined up across from him. Sure, other guys like Jerdrick Wills have spent 29 starts out at right tackle. Sure Josh Jones out of Houston has 4 years' worth of starts, but none of them did it at the consistency Thomas did.
The NFL scouting process can be a rather complex one. There are countless variables to consider and often times it can seem as if there is a moving target. However, when a prospect checks quite literally every box you can find, it makes the process fairly simple. Or at least it should.
Andrew Thomas is the best offensive tackle available in the 2020 NFL Draft, and if you don't believe it from me, how about from the man himself?
"Definitely, I’m a competitor, I want to be the best every day and I work hard. I feel like for the last three years, I’ve dominated in the SEC and I feel like I’m the best tackle in college right now."
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