The New York Giants have an unresolved position at right tackle, with second-year player Matt Peart and veteran Nate Solder expected to battle it out for the starting job.
Peart, who enjoyed 150 total snaps last year on the offensive line is looking to take a step forward in his progression. He worked diligently this off-season to lean out and add more muscle mass, helping him physically. However, everything boils down to the fundamentals at some point. If Peart can approve his pass-blocking snaps and technique, he could find himself starting in 2021 opposite Andrew Thomas, the fourth overall pick last year. Peart earned a 46.6 pass-blocking grade in 2020, per PFF.
â€œIâ€™m just happy to be out there,â€ Peart said on Tuesday. â€œLike I said, every day is a new opportunity to work on our craft and get better. I just think of it as a blessing now to be able to be out here, just to be with my brothers, to be with the family again. It just felt good to be with my guys.â€
Head coach Joe Judge spoke highly of Peart, who showed up to work and put his best foot forward despite negative variables impacting his season. The University of Connecticut product contracted COVID-19, which hurt his stamina and set him back during the second half of the year.
â€œWhat we saw last year was competitiveness, very coachable player and daily improvement. Obviously, he showed up. The first action he got last year was versus Washington in that first game we had. It was kind of on short notice. He jumped on in there, we threw him in there on the edge and he held up pretty well for us. And as we went forward, he gave us confidence to mix him through and we had a three-tackle rotation, and he kept getting better week by week,â€ Judge said. â€œHe had a setback with injury at the end of last year that kind of took a little playing time away from him because he couldnâ€™t go out there and give 100 percent, but we had confidence in him every game last year to put him out there when he was healthy.â€
â€œI probably just leaned up a little more, got more muscle mass, cut more fat. But like I said, grinding the offseason program, getting bigger and stronger.â€
If the Giants find themselves with two sophomore tackles starting and playing at an adequate level, they will be in good shape financially. Having both starting tackles on a rookie contract allows the team to spend elsewhere, giving them a nice cushion in the salary category. Depending on how Peart performs during the preseason, thereâ€™s a great chance he earns the first crack at the starting job come Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. However, I wouldnâ€™t rule out Solder giving him a run for his money.