“Waist Bending” OT Prospect

April 8th, 2020

Georgia LT Andrew Thomas.

When breaking down Georgia left tackle Andrew Thomas, Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian sees but one flaw in Thomas’s game.

And that flaw could be the thing that unless corrected, could keep Thomas from multiple Pro Bowls.

Per Polian, Thomas is a “waist bender,” which is bad news for offensive linemen.

“I like the arm length,” Polian began. “I like the fact that he is a very efficient player. I see a little waist bending in pass protection, which worries me. Waist-benders worry me.

“Now I have heard people say, people that I trust and believe in saying, ‘Yeah, it’s true. He waist bends a little. But it is only when he gets beat off the snap.'”

Polian explained that “waist bending” for NFL personnel folks is also known as lunging in pass protection, which is a big-time no-no.

If a guy waist bends, or lunges, by doing so the lineman has his head forward and down. That, Polian detailed, means the blocker is toast on the play.

“He’s beaten,” Polian said. “As soon as that head goes down, he’s beaten. Dwight Freeney and people like that can run by him like there’s no tomorrow.”

Polian added he doesn’t see Thomas do this much but just enough to raise a flag.

“He doesn’t do this often,” Polian said of Thomas. “He’s not a chronic waist bender. So you can change him to some degree. But I do see some waist-bending in there. And I understand the two people that I spoke to, I understand what they are saying completely.

“‘Yeah, it happens when he is late off the snap and gets a little panicky and he lunges a little bit. We can correct him on that.’ OK. But recognize it is there.”

Polian added that Thomas is not physically dominant the way Mekhi Becton and Jedrick Wills can be.

“He’s not the mauler that Becton and Wills are,” Polian said. “But for zone blocking he doesn’t have to be. For zone blocking, Becton and Wills are not ideal. They are better for power teams and gap-scheme teams. Thomas is fine for a zone blocking team.

“And [Thomas] is, at the college level, a pretty darn good player and a pretty darn good pass protector.”

So would Thomas drop to No. 14? The way Joe looks at this, Thomas is a three-year starter. He started at right tackle as a freshman for Georgia’s team that advanced to the national title game and beat Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl.

What Joe likes, and what NFL folks will love, is that Thomas only missed two games in three years as a starter, in 2018 with an ankle injury and the other was last year’s Sugar Bowl when Thomas sat out to prepare for the draft.

Joe sure wouldn’t mind seeing Thomas line up at right tackle for the Bucs.

26 Responses to ““Waist Bending” OT Prospect”

  1. Casual Observer Says:

    I wouldn’t mind that either. Would be a great move.

  2. Davenport Says:

    Its “waist”
    Spellcheck gone mad. LOL–Joe

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    If he is the last of The Big Four left, you have to take him.

  4. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Agreed, Cobraboy. We just need to get 1 of the 4.

  5. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Sorry if my memory alludes me, but isn’t Paul Gruber the last time that we took an OT in the First Round?

    Hopefully we get it done.

  6. DoooshLaRue Says:

    I think he has the highest bust potential out of the top 4.
    I watched him 3-4 games last season and I say a loafer. Seemed like he gave up on several plays.

    Kinda reminds me of a certain LT who is known for his lack of:

    a) passion
    b) effort
    c) attitude

    I know we need OL bad, but I’d pass and take BPA DL, RB, S, QB instead.
    I hear there is some solid 2-3 round OL talent anyway.

  7. Joe in Michigan Says:

    More of a red flag to me: sitting out his last game. Call me old school, but I want guys that want to compete. I know, the injury risk…I wonder if Licht and BA put any thought into this…I wonder how many players in the Licht years have been drafted after sitting out their Bowl game…Joe’s, would you please do a story on this, if it is a story in your eyes? Thanks!

  8. ©MadMax Says:

    I’ll take Thomas all day at 14…..but we need to trade up for the Panthers spot at #7 and grab Simmons, Wirfs, or Wills. Simmons will always be my go to in trade up scenarios….he’s whats missing at our Safety spot (plus other D positions). But I’ll be fine with OT if thats the ticket. Sit. Wait. Thomas will probably be there.

    Bartch and Peart are also possible 3rd rounders if we trade up…..just need to figure out where we can land Clyde.

    We’re in win mode NOW, so i wouldnt be surprised to see some 2021 draft picks traded.

  9. Tampabuscsbro Says:

    >Sitting out a game

    Joe in Michigan it is old school. he could lose out on tens of millions if he gets hurt in a game that doesn’t matter. most of these players do not come from any money what so ever. Also don’t forget a lot of these guys have families not entourages but families they have to support. Why risk life changing money and a pro career for one game for a school that will not give you anything if you get hurt that badly.

    It’s a business decision plain and simple.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Sorry if my memory alludes me, but isn’t Paul Gruber the last time that we took an OT in the First Round?

    Let us not forget the first round greatness that was one Kenyatta Walker.

  11. The Coroner Says:

    I would love a top tackle. But if someone like Isaiah Simmons were available I would very tempted to take him. He could be an amped up John Lynch.

  12. Cobraboy Says:

    I would much rather pull a rabbit out of the hat with the last name Wills. His footwork is incredible.

  13. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Thank you Cobraboy, I forgot about Kenyatta Walker!
    For good reason, I suppose. LOL

  14. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Tampabuscsbro: All good points. Totally makes sense. I do have a question as to whether a player is affected on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers draft board because of if they chose to sit out their last college game.

  15. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Cobraboy, one of the hardest I ever laughed was when Steve Duemig (R.I.P), during his entire first segment of a show (after Kenyatta Walker had been completely mauled by the Carolina Panthers)…. kept playing that rap song chorus “whoa b!tch, get out the way…”

    Whew, Kenyatta…. yes, what a memory.

  16. ©MadMax Says:

    @Cobra, agreed! Wills is tops after watching many vids on him. Wirfs has more physical ability, but Wills beats him all day with his instilled technique….dude knows his role.

    WE HAVE TO TRADE UP! Put it in your plans Glazers, Mr. Light, BA….we’re going after Simmons or Wills.

  17. gotbbucs Says:

    What I’ve seen of this guy in the running game, he’s a one punch guy. He gets that one good punch but after that there isnt much movement and there’s no pursuit of the play. In the passing game, like Polian said, he lunges and bends quite a bit. He bends forward and that face goes down, in the NFL that gets your QB hurt. When he gets a good kick step on the snap he’s fine, but there’s no catching up when a speed rush beats him.

    Calling him a fit for a zone blocking scheme confuses me, he can’t get up to linebacker depth. He’s not a good enough athlete for that blocking scheme.

  18. BringBucsBack Says:

    How many “waiste-benders” do we already have on the OL, I wonder?

  19. geno711 Says:

    Davin Joseph good player as Guard drafted 1st round 2006.
    Charles McRae drafted as Tackle in 1st round 1991. Solid as run blocker but just really was below average as a pass protect lineman.

    Running back is the position in early rounds that does not last:
    Lars Tate – 2nd round 1988
    Reggie Cobb – 2nd 90
    Errict Rhett – 2nd 94
    Mike Allstott – 2nd 96
    Warrick Dunn – 1st 97
    Cadillac Williams – 1st 2005
    Doug Martin – 1st 2012
    Rojo – 1st 2018

  20. geno711 Says:

    Sorry got to the end and wrote Rojo 1st instead of Rojo 2nd.

  21. WhatTheBuc Says:

    I listened to the whole Polian interview. He said that Thomas waist bends very seldom. That not very harsh criticism. Sounds like something experience and coaching can help. There isn’t a perfect player in the draft. Polian also said his number 1 guy is Becton who is more of a projection than any of the other top tackles. He was also beaten in pass pro than any other tackle. His number 5 guy Cushenberry is one of PFFs most overrated players and gets beaten more than any top center prospect. I guess I’ll take a waist bender over a guy that gets beaten up on tape.

  22. Hodad Says:

    Don’t over think this. He was a three year starter in the SEC. He’s a plug in play day one starter at RT, and would be instantly better then Dotson ever was.

  23. Jeagan1999 Says:

    I’d be thrilled with Thomas dropping to us at 14!

  24. CalBucsFan Says:

    So it sounds like which OLman would be the best pick for the Bucs depends on whether their offense is a power, gap-scheme or zone offense. Does anyone know?

  25. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    If Andrew Thomas can get it done as a LT and we are drafting him as a RT, I think he’ll be a huge improvement on the Right side.

  26. doctor_berto Says:

    Definitely my least favorite of the top 4 offensive tackles. Would prefer Kinlaw over Thomas.