The New York Giants crushed the 2020 NFL Draft. After years of disappointing offensive line play, Dave Gettleman and the Giants made it a priority to invest in the trenches. New York spent the fourth overall pick on an offensive tackle, Andrew Thomas out of Georgia, then doubled down at the position in the third round, spending the ninety-ninth overall pick on Matt Peart out of UCONN.
Matt Peart is not expected to be a starter for the Giants in the 2020 NFL season, but he has the potential to be a starter down the road. Matt Peart was not a big-name prospect after playing for four years at UCONN. However, he was an excellent prospect and a great selection at the end of the third round.
Many fans might not know much about Matt Peart, being that he played offensive tackle for the University of Connecticut. So in this article, I will break down Peart’s top strengths and weaknesses for fans to familiarize themselves with the Giants’ potential right tackle of the future.
Matt Peart has quick, agile feet. He gets out of his stance immediately with an excellent kick step. His angle sets are nearly always perfect, and he has more than enough lateral agility to stay in front of opposing speed rushers.
The most impressive skill that Matt Peart possesses is his ability to mirror defenders off the edge. He can quickly shuffle or pivot and stay in front of defenders the entire way around the pocket. Peart’s agility makes it really difficult for opposing edge rushers to get around him.
Rarely do Peart’s feet get flat and stop moving. They also infrequently get too close together or too wide. He has advanced footwork, and it is the biggest strength within his game. His baseline of technique gives him the ability to be at minimum an average offensive tackle in the NFL. But there are other factors to Matt Peart’s game that give him a much higher ceiling than that.
Great Bodytype and Athleticism
Matt Peart is a tall, lanky offensive tackle. He possesses insane 36 5/8” arms, which are “some of the longest the Combine has ever seen,” according to Pro Football Focus. Peart’s long arms give him incredible length when taking on opposing rushers.
Peart’s size, athleticism, and length, as Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman pointed out, give him plenty of upside and a “sizeable ceiling.” Peart also ran a 5.06 40 yard dash at 2020 NFL Combine. His impressive measurables and athletic testing had him standout amongst the offensive tackles projected past the second round.
Inconsistent Hand Placement
As proficient as Matt Peart’s feet are, his hands do leave a bit to be desired. Sometimes his hands get too far apart, leaving a huge strike zone on his chest for defenders to grab and control him or to bull-rush through.
There are aspects of Peart’s hand placement to like, however. He does get his hands up rather quickly to initiate the contact, and he does do a good job of clinching the defender’s jersey to easily control them. But Peart can only clinch and control defenders when his hands get inside of their chest, which is why the sometimes erratic and too-wide hand placement can create problems.
Needs To Add Strength
Matt Peart is not exactly a big mauler at offensive tackle. While he has enough strength to get the job done in Division I football, he needs to add strength to be competitive in the NFL. There were times where he was bull-rushed backward in college, causing the pocket to collapse on the quarterback. Sometimes that was the fault of poor hand placement, but other times it was caused by a lack of strength.
In the run game, Peart has good vision and the athleticism to get to the second level. But he does not always make an impact when initiating contact with the defenders on the line of scrimmage. Sometimes he engages in the block and gets no push off the line. Its a bit of a stalemate, and that is OK. But when you factor in the additional strength he will be facing in the pros; it can be concerning. Especially when you watch the film and notice that there are plays in which Peart is actually the one being walked backward while run-blocking, which is obviously the complete opposite of what is supposed to happen.
But Matt Peart is not a weakling. He managed to total 26 reps on the bench at the NFL Combine. That is an impressive number with such long arms. Matt Peart has strength, but adding a bit more power and muscle mass to fill out that large frame will only improve Peart’s game.
A four-year starter for UCONN, Matt Peart is stepping into the NFL with plenty of playing experience. He also competed amongst other talented pass-rushers at the 2020 Senior Bowl. Nevertheless, do not expect to see Peart on the field much in 2020. The Giants simply do not need to rush him out there. They have the necessary depth at the offensive tackle position to give Matt Peart time to sit and develop. But being that his technique is already great and he has the prototype body and athleticism to be an offensive tackle in the NFL, odds are Peart will progress well enough to earn that starting spot in a year or two. I truly believe that Matt Peart was a steal at ninety-nine overall and that he will be a long-term starter for the New York Giants.
This article is also accompanied by a YouTube video of a film breakdown on Matt Peart. You can check that out here.