At some point, Andrew Thomas is going to receive some special attention. He is a long-bodied, long-armed rookie in need of on-field tutoring from someone with the size and expertise to demonstrate to Thomas what he must do to make it big as an NFL offensive tackle.
There are benefits to talking about what has to be done and it is best if those discussions are followed up by showing how to get it done. Marc Colombo, a big dude, can actually look down on the 6-foot-5 Thomas and it will not take long for the even-keeled first-year Giants player from Georgia to realize his offensive line coach is in a perpetual state of amped up.
“I want to tell you, if he gets these guys to play like he did … he was tougher than s–t now,’’ Dan Shonka, general manager and national scout at Ourlads’ NFL Scouting Services, told The Post. “I’m sure he’s gonna coach these guys, when they get a punch he’s gonna have them sting people. Marc would knock your ass back when he punched and he was a very physical player.’’
Thomas, in particular, should benefit from having Colombo work with him on a daily basis. Colombo has not been at this for very long, as he brings four years working with the Cowboys’ offensive linemen into his new assignment with the Giants. Colombo, though, based his 10-year NFL playing career on toughness and using his size (6-foot-8, 315 pounds) to gain an advantage. Thomas was considered the most NFL-ready tackle in the NFL draft — he went No. 4 overall — and is expected to quickly rise to the top of the depth chart to bookend with Nate Solder as a starting tackle. Another rookie tackle, Matt Peart, is taller (6-foot-7) than Thomas and has even longer arms, although Peart will likely spend his first season getting stronger and in development.
“We’re different animals, we’re different breeds, we’ve got different drills,’’ said Shaun O’Hara, the starting center on the Giants’ Super Bowl XLII team. “When you have an O-line coach that can literally show you how to kick — slide or, ‘Hey look, I’ve dealt with it.’ You got these long, lanky long-armed tackles, Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart — guess what Marc Colombo was when he came out? He was a tall, lanky first-round draft pick. ‘I struggle getting low, how do I handle that?’ He can tell them about that. ‘How do I stop the inside move as a big, tall guy? I got to find a way to fix all that.’ He can show you because he did it.’’
Another former Giants lineman, Chris Snee — a former teammate of Colombo at Boston College — says he believes Colombo will help Thomas “tremendously.’’ O’Hara calls Thomas “a slam dunk’’ pick because “he’s the best tackle in the draft.’’
Later this summer, Colombo will finally get to size up Thomas in person and the real work will begin.