Andrew Thomas
Jet X Graphic, Getty Images, AP Photo

Blewett’s Blitz at Jet X dives into the NFL Draft, starting with a potential New York Jets target, Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas.

Protect the franchise arm or build the wall. If you happen to run into an ordinary New York Jets fans this offseason, those regular phrases are just two of the many involving the wish for Joe Douglas to protect young Sam Darnold.

Luckily, the Jets general manager is a former offensive lineman, himself. Interestingly, there are four offensive tackle prospects ready to be plucked in the first half of the 2020 NFL Draft’s first round.

Today, it’s all about Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas as Blewett’s Blitz provides the insight.

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Andrew Thomas (LT) vs. K’Lavon Chaisson. Can see that Thomas’s feet are a little “clunky,” pad level not remaining even, and he has to watch his steps (specifically second step on left). Chaisson tries to bend the edge, but Andrew Thomas gets his left into the chest and right onto the back. He leans into Chaisson as he slips to the turf and Thomas makes sure to finish the block.

Thomas stays tight (while also staying square to the LOS) to the right guard while throwing out his drag hand to protect the B-gap, as there is a lot of action near the B/C-gaps. Thomas’s eyes are on Chaisson, once he changes his course inside. Thomas’s eyes flash outside and he makes sure to get outside on the edge. Good hand placement with the left into the chest and right into the hip. Runs the rusher up the arc and past the quarterback.

This a snap where one of Thomas’s weaknesses show up, as he works on the deuce combo-block with the left guard to the MIKE backer. Thomas takes his zone step but overcommits his hips and tries to deliver a big shot on the defensive end (4i). This causes Thomas to be off-balance and allows the linebacker to scrape overtop and get involved in the tackle of the running back.

I would like to see Thomas stay more square to the line of scrimmage and “play long” while going into the combo block, which would allow him to get to the second level cleanly.

I don’t like this run call against this formation and there are multiple reasons it doesn’t work. Thomas does his job as he takes on hard step upfield, lowering his shoulder into the 5-tech so the tight end can take over the block. Thomas keeps his eyes on the second level and peels off as the linebacker tries to fill the B-gap.

On a third-and-less-than-1 situation, the Bulldogs run a tight zone. Thomas takes his zone/drop step which generates power as he leans into the 4i-tech. Once engaged, he drives through the lower half to move the defensive lineman.

The tight end attempts to take over the block. Thomas disengages as the linebacker comes to fill and creates more movement. The running back cuts behind Thomas and picks up the first down.

Thomas gets into his kick-slide with his right “drag hand” out to protect the b-gap. Chaisson rushes up the arc and as he gets even, Thomas opens his hips up, gets his left hand inside and runs him up the arc.

There are a few issues with this play, though he wins the rep. I would like to see him create more depth so he isn’t forced to open his hips as early as he does. You can also see him being a little bit “top-heavy” in this block with a wide punch.

A good rusher in the NFL could beat this in three ways. Speed-to-power as he gives the chest up, spin move back inside because he is leaning into the block or defeating the outside hand up the arc.

Thomas vs. Chaisson again. Chaisson takes two hard steps upfield, which results in Thomas oversetting a bit (want the outside foot splitting the rusher), which gives Chaisson room in the B-gap. Chaisson changes his rush angle inside paired with a chop (that misses).

Thomas drops his post, shows his length getting his right hand inside. Thomas “wrenches” Chaisson and runs him past the quarterback’s level.

Here, you can see speed hurting Thomas as he matches up vs. Chaisson again. Chaisson explodes off of the line; Thomas is forced to open his gate immediately to get hands-on, which he does.

Unfortunately, he isn’t able to get enough strength into his hands to push Chaisson past the QB because he has no base behind his punch. In this situation, I would like to see Thomas at a 45-degree set to cut off Chaisson from the jump instead of giving him a soft edge.

Ball is ruled incomplete, but regardless, Thomas gives up the QB hit.

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What is you conclusion about AT, Joe? Is he a top-tier LT meriting the 11th overall pick? Would he be a substantial upgrade over Beachum and Fant?