Throughout the month of August, we’ll go position-by-position, presenting the top-5’s for the 2020 NFL Draft. In this post, we cover the offensive lineman, regardless of position.
The 2020 class of NFL linemen is an interesting one. There are certainly several prospects who appear worthy of a first-round pick, some in the top 15, just as there are most years. That said, several prospects have some glaring question marks concerning their health or technique. Nevertheless, these are the biggest names ahead of the season that we should hear early in April’s draft.
No brainer, right? Andrew Thomas is unquestionably the top prospect regardless, of position, on the offensive line. He checks all the boxes: two-year starter with plenty of accolades at a premiere program, excellent strength, agility, and a high football IQ. Barring any disastrous setbacks, Thomas will be a top-10 pick in April.
The most impressive aspect of Thomas’s game is his run blocking ability. He’s quick and powerful off the line and gets great push against his assignment. His initial punch stuns defenders and gives Thomas control to direct his man. Thomas possesses exceptional technique in all of his play which he uses to punish defenders on a consistent basis.
Thomas is an elite pass blocker at the college level, again displaying his technique to make up for any lack of athleticism. He mirrors most speed rushers beautifully and shuts down bull rush attempts cold. Thomas also shows off his IQ by sniffing out stunts and blitzes quickly, a trait he used well against Alabama and Texas in the postseason.
In 2019 Thomas has room to improve his balance. He can get a bit top-heavy which makes him vulnerable to pull moves off of bullrushes. Elite speed rushers can make him look silly off the line too. Josh Allen beat him off the snap in the Kentucky game so quickly Thomas barely got a hand on him, leaving Allen free to recover a fumble in the backfield. Kentucky’s rushers also made good use of the spin move, again showing where Thomas needs to bolster down his balance.
If all turns well for Thomas, his nagging ankle injury from last year is behind him and he can put on a full year of quality tape for NFL scouts to enjoy. Thomas is a joy to watch on film and has had an incredible career for the Bulldogs, earning NCAA Freshman All-American in 2017 and All-SEC honors. This year he returns as a front runner for the Outland Trophy and another chance to lead Georgia in the College Football Playoff.