The call, of course, came in from the Giants. As the head coach at Georgia, Kirby Smart fields many of these calls from NFL personnel men curious to uncover any and all inside information they can about players entering the draft. Smart gave the Giants the skinny on Andrew Thomas, and the characterization was as …
The call, of course, came in from the Giants.
As the head coach at Georgia, Kirby Smart fields many of these calls from NFL personnel men curious to uncover any and all inside information they can about players entering the draft.
Smart gave the Giants the skinny on Andrew Thomas, and the characterization was as direct and sturdy as the position Thomas plays.
“You’re not going to get a lot out of him,’’ Smart told The Post on Friday. “That’s not his deal, man. He worries about how he plays on the field and handles his business.
“I told those guys from the Giants, you’re getting a workhorse, because he’s just very solid. In a day and age when you worry about busts and guys not being what you think they are, you’re getting what you get with this guy. What you see is what you get.’’
The Giants saw enough in Thomas to rank him as their top offensive lineman and they took him with the No. 4 pick. If he is not an opening day starter, an investigation is in order. The only question is whether it is at right or left tackle. He played both spots for the Bulldogs, on the right side as a true freshman and on the left side the past two seasons.
All the measurable are there with Thomas — the long torso and the extra-long arms — and the technique with his footwork and hand placement grade out. Less visible is Andrew Thomas, the person. What are the Giants getting with this 21-year-old, who was the picture of understatement and monotone during his first introduction to the New York media, via a Zoom chat Thursday night?
Smart chuckled when he heard how Thomas came across.
“You’re not going to get a lot of personality out of him,’’ Smart said. “He’s a pretty reserved, quiet kid. Not that he runs from the limelight. He just keeps to himself. I like those kinds. Low maintenance.’’
Thomas went to Pace Academy in Atlanta, the school to which Falcons owner Arthur Blank sent his kids. In his first two practices at Georgia, Thomas lined up at guard. It was a short-lived assignment. Sam Pittman, at the time the offensive line coach (he now is the Arkansas head coach) walked into Smart’s office and said, “I think this kid is going to be a really special player. He’s one of our five best linemen. Let’s go ahead and move him.’’
From that day forward, Thomas was a tackle.
A fine student with an eye for Georgia’s business school, Thomas kept a low profile but he did not go unnoticed. When the school raised $63 million for a “West End Zone’’ project to add locker rooms and a recruiting wing to Sanford Stadium, the athletic department selected Thomas as its representative to thank the boosters.
• Giants’ NFL Draft tracker: Live round-by-round picks and analysis
Without any notes, Thomas wowed the crowd.
“Unflappable,’’ Smart said.
Thomas grew up with parents Belinda and Andre in a spiritually Christian home in Lithonia, Ga., filled with music. Andre played the drums and Andrew plays piano and drums. Three years ago, Andre suffered a stroke. This is one reason Smart was heartened to see Thomas get taken by the Giants so high in the draft. As the No. 4-overall pick, Thomas should sign a four-year contract worth $32.5 million, all guaranteed, with a signing bonus of $21 million.
“He knows he’s going to be able to take care of his dad,’’ Smart said.
As for heading to the big city and handling what comes next, Smart is not worried about Thomas, on the field or off it.
“He’s just real workmanlike,’’ Smart said. “It’s not that he’s intimidated or out of his framework. Intellectually he’s really bright. He’s really articulate. He’s just calculated. He doesn’t talk unless he needs to, he’s just not flamboyant. I think behind closed doors all the players on the team really liked him. He’s got a little silly side that he would every now and then catch him getting a little loose with his buddies that he lives with. He surrounds himself with really high-character people.
“On the field he’s definitely a different person. He uses the field as a vehicle for him to kind of get his frustrations out and show his emotions. He showed more emotions on the grass than he ever did off the field. We’d score a touchdown and celebrating, those kind of things, and being with his teammates, that was a big emotional show for him. Otherwise you’re just not gonna get a lot of that.’’
The Giants have Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones for the highlights. They need Andrew Thomas, in his own way, to start them up.