Andrew Thomas was waiting patiently in his home with his family, agent, mentor Kevin Johnson, and friends when he got a call from the Giants three minutes before the pick was officially placed in the 2020 NFL Draft.
GM Dave Gettleman informed Thomas that he would be the selection at No. 4, and though he talked with the Giants extensively before Thursday night, the official call was simply a blessing.
"Yeah, so I had a couple Zoom calls with them (in) this process and I had a formal meeting with them down at the combine," Thomas said.
"I really didn't know where I was going to end up. But when they made the call, I was obviously excited. I'm ready to get to work and get down to New York."
Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge explained why Thomas was the right pick in their eyes, alluding to his length and overall track record against top pass rushers like Jaguars DE Josh Allen during his college career. Judge said he has the "right demeanor" on and off the field.
So they made him the first offensive tackle of the "Big Four" to come off the draft board. It's something that Thomas definitely cared about heading into the draft.
"I work hard every day to be the best. I don't understand why you would play this game if you don't want to be the best," he said. "It definitely meant something."
The moment Andrew Thomas found out he was a New York Football Giant.- Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) April 24, 2020
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Now Thomas won't be blocking for QB Jake Fromm or RB D'Andre Swift anymore. He gets to protect the last two first-rounders for the Giants in Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones. Thomas is a key cog expected to keep Jones upright as well as open some more holes up for the All-Pro running back to speed through.
He's looking forward to that challenge.
"I'll do my best to protect the quarterback, open up lanes. It's a blessing to be able to play with guys as talented as they are," Thomas said about Jones and Barkley.
Thomas will also know one very talented pass rusher he'll be going up against twice a year in Chase Young, who went two picks before him to the Redskins. The Ohio State product is called "The Predator" for a reason, but Thomas was calm when asked about facing him and others around the league this upcoming season.
For him, preparation is key no matter the opponent.
"Confidence comes with preparation, understanding the playbook, learning from the vets week in and week out," he said. "Going against guys that have been playing in the league for 10 years, who are very good at what they do, so for me, it's a mental thing and like I said, having confidence in myself for my preparation."
That's the answer Gettleman, Judge, and the rest of the Giants love to hear.
Thomas is very versatile, playing right and left tackle during his Bulldogs career. Nate Solder being on the left side would likely mean Thomas begins his career on the right side, but he's confident in playing either tackle position saying "having experience playing both sides will be something that will be an asset for me."
But Thomas can worry about his spot on the line later. He can first celebrate his dream of being drafted now coming true. And for those who didn't believe he should have been the first tackle off the board, he isn't sweating it.
He knows his hard work and determination will change some minds down the road.
"For me, I just try to focus on what I can control," he said. "I can't control what other guys may do or what the media may say. All I can do is work on my craft and do what I need to do to be prepared when I step on the field."