ATHENS — Andrew Thomas became the New York Giants’ highest-drafted offensive lineman since 1974 when he was selected with the No. 4 overall pick.
The selection caught many of the 2020 NFL Draft prognosticators off guard but it made perfect sense to Georgia coach Kirby Smart.
“Obviously (Thomas) plays in the best conference in football with 15 first round picks, so he’s blocked half those guys,” Smart said last week on the SEC Network.
“He watched two draft classes go by where he has had to block those guys, and yet he had a lot of people rated in front of him in the draft class.”
Thomas was most often rated as the fourth offensive tackle in the 2020 NFL Draft, but as things played out, he was the first. Thomas will join former UGA teammates Deandre Baker, Lorenzo Carter and Tae Crowder on the Giants’ roster.
Georgia had three offensive linemen selected in the NFL Draft.
In addition to Thomas, offensive tackle Isaiah Wilson was the No. 29 overall pick, selected by the Tennessee Titans.
Offensive guard Solomon Kindley was also drafted, the fourth-round choice of the Miami Dolphins.
“Iron sharpens iron,” Smart told the NFL Network, “And when you go to the SEC and you block the best players in the country.”
Smart revealed that Thomas, in particular, might have taken some offense to the relatively low projections he saw by NFL draft analysts.
“I think Andrew had a chip on his shoulder when he’s looking on the board there on ESPN, and it’s having him third and fourth as far as ranking him as tackle,” Smart said. “All the guy did was start every game at tackle.”