With all of the "Big Four" linemen on the board when they selected at No. 4 on Thursday night, the Giants took Georgia's Andrew Thomas.
Buzz had been building over the last week regarding the Giants and Jedrick Wills, and SNY's Ralph Vacchiano had reported that GM Dave Gettleman loved Tristan Wirfs, but the Giants opted for Thomas over Wills, Wirfs, and Mekhi Becton.
The debate leading up to the draft was over whether the Giants should go for offensive line help or select versatile Clemson defender Isaiah Simmons. By going with Thomas -- which should be music to the ears of both Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley -- the Giants add what they hope will be immediate help to an offensive line very much in flux.
The 21-year-old Thomas -- who was once viewed as the best offensive line prospect in the draft -- excelled for Georgia last season, where he started 13 games at left tackle while being named first-team all-conference and first-team Associated Press All-American.
NFL scouts and executives never reached a consensus on the "Big Four" tackles at the top of the draft. All of them were generally thought to be worthy of a Top 10, or at least Top 15 pick. But the order of preference depended on who was asked.
So yes, in some ways, they were interchangeable. But still, this pick was a bit of a surprise.
It's not that the Giants took a tackle -- that seemed obvious, even if they could've used a defensive Swiss Army knife like Clemson linebacker Simmons. It's which one they took. For most of the process they seemed to be leaning toward either Iowa's Wirfs or Alabama's Wills. And the 6-5, 315-pound Thomas has rarely been mentioned as the top tackle on the board.
Still, it's hard to argue the Giants got this wrong. Late last season, almost everyone seemed to think Thomas was the best tackle available. That only started to change in January, when the real draft evaluation began. For a while after that, it seemed like he'd be the fourth of the "Big Four" taken, though as the draft got closer, his stock appeared to be moving up.
What scouts saw in him was that he might be the most NFL-ready of the group, a player who could step in seamlessly as a team's left tackle on Day 1. It's unclear if he'll do that for the Giants. He'll most likely start on the right side, unless he's able to push Nate Solder out of the job. But they expect him to be the anchor of their new-look line for many years to come.
And with Thomas in place, Dave "Hog Molly" Gettleman's line-fixing project finally gets the boost it has needed. He now has three big pieces in place -- Thomas, guard Will Hernandez and guard Kevin Zeitler -- with more likely coming before this draft is over. He's clearly committed to addressing a position that's been a problem for the Giants for far too long.