ATHENS — Former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas might want to make sure his wardrobe includes plenty of things that match with brown.
Thomas, an Outland Trophy Semifinalist and All-American for the Bulldogs last season, is being projected as the first-round pick for the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Browns have the 10th overall pick, and Thomas — one of the record 111 underclassmen from the college ranks to declare himself eligible for the draft — is widely considered the top offensive tackle in the draft class.
The ClevelandBrowns.com website will be paying particularly close attention to Thomas throughout the draft process as its roundup reflected the former Georgia captain a popular choice among NFL draft analysts.
Among those projecting Thomas to the Cleveland Browns at No. 10 are:
• Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network
• Dane Brugler, The Athletic
• Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News
• Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network
• Josh Edwards, CBSSports.com
Brugler reportedly noted Thomas has “shock absorbers” for hands in draft assessment.
Thomas has been projected to be selected by other teams by other analysts, but the Browns’ projection is far and away most popular.
That said, the NFL draft process is just getting underway.
Some players’ draft stock is rising and falling at the Senior Bowl this week. Player rankings will be adjusted again at the fast-approaching NFL combine in Indianapolis, where medical exams, measurements and testing take place.
Thomas’ athleticism, skills and disposition figure to make him a strong candidate to improve his stock once he starts meeting with teams and performs at the NFL combine.
Of the 12 UGA starters that missed the Sugar Bowl, Thomas was perhaps who Coach Kirby Smart was referring to when he made reference to the business aspect of missing a non-College Football Playoff game.
“When you recruit at a really high level, you’re going to have kids with an opportunity to go in the first round,” Smart said, “that are going to make, quote‑unquote, business decisions for them.”
The year before, eventual New York Giants’ first-round NFL pick Deandre Baker made the decision not to play in Georgia’s non-playoff bowl game.
Smart declared this season that if players weren’t engaged — planning to play in the bowl game — he would not bring them.
That apparently applied even for Thomas, a high character player voted a permanent captain who is universally liked and respected in Athens.
Scouts like Thomas, too. He has been projected as high as the No. 4 overall pick for the New York Giants (CBS Sports).
Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs and Alabama’s Jedrick Wills appear to be Thomas’ biggest competition in the draft at the offensive tackle position. Both are also widely projected first-round picks.
The draft ranking for Thomas — from No. 4 to No. 10 — is higher than any of the other Georgia players in the upcoming draft class.
The Bulldogs have two other juniors, tailback D’Andre Swift and quarterback Jake Fromm, who have received first-round draft projections. But neither are as highly regarded in terms of NFL draft value as Thomas.
Georgia also has two other underclass offensive linemen coming out, junior guard Solomon Kindley and redshirt sophomore Isaiah Wilson.
Both Kindley and Wilson have been trimming up their football frames to be in prime condition for the NFL combine. Kindley and Wilson figure to improve their stock at the combine.
Some NFL Team is going to get a future All-Pro and 10-year OT starter when choosing @allforgod_55 Andrew Thomas in the first round … size, athleticism, skillset and character, Andrew checks all the boxes https://t.co/vNVhsBaa2K
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) January 23, 2020
DawgNation: Georgia in the NFL draft