Andrew Thomas lands with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2020 NFL Draft Do-Over
The Jacksonville Jaguars entered the 2020 NFL Draft with three picks in the top 50. However, they failed to find difference-makers with any of those selections. This is why Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report believes the Jags would have been better off taking offensive tackle Andrew Thomas -- instead of cornerback C.J. Henderson -- at No. 9 in the first round.
Knox re-did the first round of the 2020 draft and argues that Thomas would have been a better pick than Henderson because he would have given Jacskonvile a bookend offensive tackle opposite Jawaan Taylor.
"Drafting Thomas a year after taking Taylor would give Jacksonville legitimate bookend tackles for three seasons, including Lawrence's first two, while providing a plan at the line's most important position."
Thomas originally went to the New York Giants at No. 4 but since they went with star wide receiver Justin Jefferson in Knox's do-over, the Jags were able to take him with the ninth overall selection.
Henderson, the Jaguars' original pick, showed flashes early in his rookie campaign but was shut down for the season after suffering a groin injury. He then underwent surgery for a torn labrum The former Florida Gator missed a portion of training camp and fell out of favor with Urban Meyer. This led to his eventual trade to the Carolina Panthers after Week 3 of the 2023 season.
Meanwhile, Thomas has become a staple of the Big Blue's offensive line, giving up just three sacks and 21 total pressures last year. Moreover, his 2022 Pro Football Focus overall grade of 90.3 was the third best in the league among offensive tackles.
Drafting Andrew Thomas would have had a ripple effect on the Jaguars
The truth is that Henderson was a bad pick by former general manager David Caldwell, whose constant mishaps in the draft ended up costing him his job. Looking back, there were many players that would have been better than Henderson. Thomas wasn't one of them though, since he was off the board by the time the Jaguars were off the board.
But let's entertain the idea of the Jaguars finding a way to land Thomas. Cam Robinson was entering a contract year at the time and it was uncertain whether he would return to Jacksonville in 2021. Similarly, Taylor was coming off an inconsistent rookie campaign but it's highly unlikely that the Jaguars would have benched him in just his second season.
Thomas would have then competed with Robinson or outright replaced him at left tackle. If that had been the outcome, it's fair to wonder if the Jaguars would have drafted Walker LIttle 45th overall in 2021. Also, having Thomas would have allowed Jacksonville to move on from Robinson instead of using the franchise tag on him.
Now, it's important to point out that leaving aside Caldwell's abysmal record at finding talent, the draft is a crapshoot, and nothing guaranteed the Giants that they will come out with a franchise left tackle. Similarly, the Jags weren't great at developing talent back then, so Thomas might not have developed into the player he's become in New York.
All things considered, Andrew Thomas would have been a better pick at No. 9 than Henderson. Although it might have been seen as a luxury pick, there's a good chance he would have given the Jacksonville Jaguars stability at left tackle for several years.