If this football thing doesn’t work out for former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, then superstar musician and singer John Legend better watch out.
“All of my family either sings or plays an instrument,” Thomas said. “My dad, he plays the drums. He taught me how to play the drums when I was young. I was in the band all throughout high school and when I transitioned to college, I couldn’t be in the band any more, so I decided to try and learn how to play the piano.”
NFL teams interviewing Thomas, a first-round draft prospect, at the scouting combine have wanted to know about his musical talent.
“Every time they hear that, they get interested and they want to talk about it,” said Thomas, who played at Pace Academy. “I think that’s a good thing outside of football that I do.”
Thomas and his family participate in the music ministry at Christ Tabernacle church in Lithonia.
“Tambourines, the whole thing, washboards, all of that,” Thomas said.
So, when training for the scouting combine in Pensacola, Florida, Thomas had a piano at the house.
“When I had some free time, I tried to get in there and play a little bit,” Thomas said.
He plays mostly gospel and rhythm-and-blues music and said he can play “All of Me” by Legend, the 10-time Grammy Award winning artist.
Once the NFL teams get past the music, they want to know about Thomas’ football skills.
Thomas measured 6 feet, 5 1/8 inches tall and weighed in at 315 pounds officially at the combine.
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper contended that Thomas needs to work on his blocking techniques and that he plays “too high” at times. In the NFL trenches, the lowest man wins nearly 100 percent of the time.
“People are entitled to their own opinions,” Thomas said. “I go back and look at the film, and there are always things that I want to work on. There is never a time when you said I’m perfect and there is nothing to work on. I want to always try to get better. The transition to the NFL, the guys you are going to be going against are ridiculous. I’m always willing to get better.”
Most pre-combine mock drafts have Thomas going in the top 10, while Kiper has him going 18th to Miami.
Thomas, a three-year starter, won the SEC’s Jacobs Blocking Trophy, UGA’s first recipient of the award in 21 years. He was an All-SEC first-team selection by the coaches and the Associated Press.
“He's powerful, he's dominant in the run game,” said NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former scout with the Ravens. “He can anchor in pass protection. He's very aware.”
Jeremiah saw some flaws in Thomas’ play from his film study.
“He's just on the ground a little bit (too much) for me,” Jeremiah said. “That was a concern with some of the balance issues.”
Thomas played right and left tackle over his career at Georgia.
“I know some teams would like him to kick over to the right side, but I definitely think he's a first-round tackle,” Jeremiah said.
Thomas is not too worried about the scrutiny of the finer points of his play.
“I just want to show them how athletic I am and then talking to the coaches, show my knowledge of the game,” Thomas said. “How I can transition and pick up plays really quickly.”
Thomas could land in Cleveland and be reunited with former Georgia running back Nick Chubb. The Browns are in the market for a right and left tackle.
“He doesn’t try to talk to me about coming to Cleveland,” Thomas said. “He just tries to motivate me to make sure that I keep my head on straight.”
Thomas was battled tested for the NFL while playing in the SEC. He cited Auburn’s Jeff Holland (now with the Rams) and Derrick Brown, Alabama’s Daron Payne (now with the Redskins) and LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson as the toughest players he faced in college.
Some compare Thomas with former Mississippi tackle Laremy Tunsil, who plays for the Texans and was the 13th overall pick in 2016.
“Yeah, I watched a couple of his games when he was at Ole Miss,” Thomas said. “In the NFL, he’s a very good pass protector and run blocker. I’m trying to model my game after his.”
Whoever drafts Thomas is going to have the hottest “rookie show” when he has to sing for the veterans.
“If I had to rate myself of a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably a five right now (at playing the piano),” Thomas said. “I’m still working on it. It’s just something that I enjoy.”
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