The last time the Giants plucked an offensive lineman out of the University of Connecticut, they had mixed results.
The year was 2009 and the Giants, looking to add depth at offensive tackle, selected UConn's William Beatty with the second of their two second-round picks in that draft.
At times Beatty was more than serviceable, but there were enough little things that added up to where the Giants ended up cutting ties with him before he could finish his second contract.
Fast forward to the 2020 draft. The Giants plucked Matt Peart out of UConn in the third round to provide depth at tackle and an eye toward becoming a starter.
As a rookie, Peart acquitted himself reasonably well considering he didn't have any spring or preseason to speak of--and that included a starting stint at left tackle in Week 6 when fellow rookie Andrew Thomas was benched for a violation of team rules.
Peart played so well at left tackle that a couple of weeks later, he was rotating with then starting right tackle Cam Fleming, where he looked to finally be settling in until a late-season ankle injury slowed him down and caused him to miss three games.
Still, there was enough to like in Peart's game, including his 6'7", 320-pound frame, which, by the way, he appears to have added some upper body muscle to this off-season.
What He Brings
Peart is a long and athletic blocker who was a bright spot on an otherwise forgettable Huskies team. Blessed with ideal size for the position, natural power, and the feet and balance to match, Peart has an impressive 86½” wingspan to go along with a prototypical frame.
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He has very good feet and has no issues mirroring athletic defenders on the edge while maintaining his leverage. Peart has great competitive toughness and consistently looks for work in both pass protection and run blocking, and his athleticism shows up as an under-rated run blocker in space.
His technique, however, needs some work. His hand punch was a big issue in that, at times, he was late getting his hands up and thus was thwarted by his opponent.
He also needed to get stronger to improve his anchor against stronger opponents seeking to put him on roller skates. Again, this seems to be something Peart did address as he appeared to be bulkier in the upper body.
In short, there's enough to like about this second-year prospect, whose major deficiencies from his college days and rookie season are all coachable.
Peart is on the second year of his four-year rookie contract worth $4,329,560. He'll count for $1,022,591 against this year's cap.
Although the Giants will say there is a competition for the starting right tackle job between Peart and Nate Solder, it's probably not a stretch to assume that Peart, who worked with the first-string offensive line in the spring, is favored to win the starting job.
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