2020 NFL Draft: Georgia OL Andrew Thomas Could Provide Early Stability For Jaguars
As the 2020 offseason progresses, JaguarReport is going to be taking extended looks of some NFL draft prospects who could theoretically make sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars at some point in April.
In this version, we examine Georgia offensive lineman Andrew Thomas, one of college football's most decorated blockers over the last few seasons. Thomas has spent extensive time at both tackle spots, and his performance at the combine solidified him as one of this year's top offensive line prospects.
A former five-star recruit, Thomas entered college with high expectations. He quickly met those expectations, starting 15 games at right tackle as a true freshman and helping lead the Bulldogs to the National Championship game.
His early success carried over to 2018 as Thomas made the switch from right tackle to left tackle. Thomas (6-foot-5, 315-pounds) earned second-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC honors as a sophomore after making 13 starts at left tackle, positioning him well as a preseason candidate in 2019 to become a top draft pick.
Thomas was once again the model for consistency in 2019, starting 13 games for the Bulldogs at left tackle and being named a first-team Associated Press All-American and first-team all-SEC blocker in his final year in college. At the NFL Scouting Combine, Thomas turned in an impressive performance that saw him record a 30.5-inch vertical jump and a 7.58 three-cone time.
What Andrew Thomas does well
The Bulldogs never had any questions in what they would get from Thomas each and every snap. He was a steady, dependable, and hard-working player who never fell into deep lulls or periods of poor play on the edge. A big reason for this is Thomas' technical proficiency, which he displayed each Saturday.
In pass protection, Thomas typically wins the battle once he can get his hands on the defender. He has a strong punch that can neutralize a defensive end at the start of their rush, especially smaller defensive ends who win on speed and agility but lack the anchor or mass to move past Thomas' upper body strength.
This strength also gives Thomas an edge when he is able to beat a defender's angle to the edge. Since Thomas is so much larger and stronger than most defensive ends, he can use his power and the end's own momentum to ride them past the top of the arc and take them out of the play.
When blocking stunts or blitzes, Thomas is quick to identify any movement and move to a new target. He has enough flexibility to transition from one defender to another, and the strength to anchor versus interior defensive lineman. He is also able to re-anchor and re-establish leverage when he is initially beat off of the ball, helping him fend off speed-to-power pass-rushers or counter against inside moves.
As a run blocker, Thomas plays with a tenacity that serves his deposition well. He has the natural power to move defensive lineman off of the ball, but he also plays with solid leverage and footwork in the run game, especially on power runs. He always looks for contact as well, never shying away from finding more work.
What Andrew Thomas needs to improve at
While Thomas moves well for his size thanks to his wide space and smooth kick set, he can still be beaten by pure speed rushes on the edge. He does a great job corraling defensive ends once he is able to engage them, but explosive ends may be able to simply run past him because he doesn't have top-end footspeed.
Thomas isn't often beat around the arc thanks to his length, power, and technique, but he does have issues when forced to open his hips and attack a defensive end who has good explosion off of the ball.
Thomas also has some balance issues in the run and pass game that will need to be cleaned up at the next level. He is talented and strong enough to get by with these issues in college, but he will have to ensure he stays off the ground at the next level by keeping consistent leverage and not stopping his feet upon contact.
And while Thomas is a top-tier run blocker when tasked with taking on defensive lineman, he does have some issues with second-level blocks despite his willingness for contact and smarts. He looks tight in space, sometimes lumbering to the second level and taking poor angles.
Thomas isn't nearly as flashy of a prospect as Tristan Wirfs or Mekhi Becton might be, but he is an ideal offensive line prospect in terms of consistency. Nearly every rep looks the same, and there will never be any mystery in what you are getting from him, even if he could have issues against speed rushes at the next level.
For the Jaguars, Thomas could play either left tackle or either guard spot early on. He is technically sound enough to step in from day one and make an impact regardless of where he plays, and his style of play and temperament are perfect fits for what the Jaguars have typically sought at the offensive tackle position.
Adding Thomas wouldn't overhaul the Jaguars' offense, but it would give them a gifted technician who can play a number of spots along the line. You may forget about Thomas at times, but that is what you want from an offensive lineman. He will just play.
Thomas' ceiling isn't as high as other offensive tackles in this class, and his issues versus speed are legit, but Thomas' floor is as high as any offensive lineman in this entire class. If the Jaguars want to provide stability to their offensive line early on, Thomas is a good fit, even if he isn't perfect.