The offensive tackle position is one of the most important in the sport of football. Often the two biggest members of the offensive line, the tackles are tasked with stifling the slew of premier pass rushers that litter NFL rosters in 2023. Andrew Thomas of the New York Giants is among the best of them.
Andrew Thomas deserves more credit for spearheading the offensive line in New York
However, in a poll conducted by ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, which calculated votes made by executives, coaches, scouts, and players around the league… Thomas was nowhere to be found in the top five. Instead, the Georgia product checked in at No. 7 overall.
In his second season in New York, the 24-year-old left tackle broke out into superstardom. He graded out as the fourth-best offensive tackle in pass blocking while checking in at eighth in run blocking (minimum of seven games played). His overall offensive grade (89.1) was behind only Trent Williams and Christian Darrisaw.
Thomas allowed only three sacks in 1,047 snaps during his sophomore campaign while keeping his box score relatively clean with only two charged penalties all season long. This is rare for an offensive tackle with as many snaps as Thomas, as most of the names ahead of him were flagged more often.
The Giants rode Andrew Thomas to a postseason berth in 2022
Further cementing his case for a spot in the top five is his importance to the Giants’ emergence in 2022. The offensive line was the heart and soul of the group, with running back Saquon Barkley taking advantage of massive running lanes and quarterback Daniel Jones taking advantage of extra time in the pocket.
I have no qualms with Trent Williams sitting at No. 1 overall in the ESPN offensive tackle rankings. He has been the best blindside blocker for most of the past decade, and his $138 million contract reflects that. Furthermore, Laremy Tunsil has earned the No. 2 spot, even if he is one of the most penalized linemen in the NFL.
Tristan Wirfs wraps up the top three. The Iowa standout made first-team All-Pro in 2021 and second-team All-Pro in 2022, both at right tackle. Wirfs is making the flip to the left side this off-season after the Bucs moved on from former starter Donovan Smith. The third-year player is as polished as they come, but he is the final name I’m comfortable placing ahead of Thomas.
Andrew Thomas is a top-five OT… and he’s not five
If it’s up to me, Thomas is the No. 4 spot without much debate. Lane Johnson is an absolute stud, but he is another year older and has suffered from a lack of durability often in his career. Jordan Mailata bookends the Philly line with Johnson, and his story is impressive, but he is not better than Thomas.
Penei Sewell slots in one spot ahead. He is an ascending talent in Detroit and could easily rise up this ranking by next offseason. However, as things currently stand, I don’t see a valid argument for Sewell over Thomas based on last season’s performance. The Lion lineman racked up ten penalties and allowed more QB hits and pressures than the Giant star.
All in all, it may look like Thomas is being held in high regard at No. 7 overall. But I see it more as a slight. Judging solely from what we have watched to this point, without projecting an insane leap for others on the list, Thomas deserves a spot in the top five. Giants fans will let you know it, too.