The Bengals are a pretty well known Georgia pipeline. A.J. Green, Geno Atkins, Shawn Williams and many more have made their way through Cincinnati after playing for the Bulldogs. Is there any chance that one of their next star offensive linemen could come from that same school? Let’s take a look at offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
Position: Offensive tackle
Weight: 315 pounds
Projected Round: First Round
Starting with the good, Thomas was regarded as one of the top tackles coming out at the beginning of the process. He is a big guy with plenty of power. He does a good job of winning his blocks in the running game and holding off a multitude of different kinds of pass rushers. He is the kind of guy that NFL teams can easily envision taking and plugging in at left (or right) tackle and feeling good about that position for the foreseeable future.
So why has Thomas been falling down boards recently? Quite simply, his performance at the NFL Scouting Combine left plenty to be desired when compared to the rest of the top offensive tackle prospects. He came in weighing the least of the other three tackles (Jedrick Willis, Tristan Wirfs and Mekhi Becton), so it didn’t look good when he looked like the least athletic of the group as well. While it only takes one team to still have him higher on their board, it seems like Thomas has secured himself as the fourth offensive tackle in this group.
The rest of the negatives on Thomas’ film are small things that are fairly correctable. One of the biggest things is he doesn’t consistently block to the whistle, especially when pass blocking. There are times he will allow the speed rusher to fly by him and use that momentum to have him run by the quarterback, but then he fails to consistently prevent that rusher from winning the rep after that. There are also times you wish he could get out in space quicker for things like wide receiver screens or outside running plays, but sometimes he is just a step slow in that department.
The good still vastly out weighs the bad with Thomas, though. The question then becomes how likely is it that he could fall to Cincinnati at pick 33, and the answer is almost impossible. What is a more likely situation is there is a run on wide receivers, and Thomas falls into the 20’s. Then it becomes a matter of do the Bengals view him as valuable enough to trade back into the first round and stop Thomas’ fall?
How he fits with the Bengals
Thomas could instantly step in as the right tackle for this team. Odds are that Jonah Williams would be viewed as the left tackle after missing his rookie season, but there isn’t much of a chance that Thomas wouldn’t be a starter in his first season. It isn’t impossible that we see him at guard, but it is hard to ignore him as an instant upgrade over Bobby Hart at the right tackle position.
Cincinnati would also be smart to give Thomas plenty of snaps at left tackle during camp that way if Williams goes down he can switch sides to e the team’s left tackle, which would be some much needed depth there, and he would be more reliable than Hart or anyone else currently on the roster at that position.
Thomas would be a dream pick for the Bengals, but the odds they actually have the chance of picking him are slim. The NFL Draft can be crazy though, and we all should learn to never say never when it comes to players falling.