The New York Giants have a competition battle brewing at right tackle, but the expectation is that veteran Nate Solder will push for the starting job. Solder, who opted out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19, is looking to make a heroic return to form after struggling during the 2019 season.
Solder allowed 11 sacks, 36 hurries, and 56 pressures, per PFF, showcasing one of his worst performances to date. However, a year off from football might have benefitted his mindset, which could lead to an improved 2021 season. While we can remain optimistic, Solder has a big challenge ahead of him, dethroning Matt Peart at right tackle; a second-year player out of the University of Connecticut vying for the starting gig.
Peart had himself an adequate rookie season, despite several factors working against him. Ranging from the loss of preseason as a result of Covid and the transition to a new coaching staff, Peart didn’t exactly have an ideal situation to help him adapt to the NFL.
Listed at 6’7” and 301 pounds, the sophomore tackle undoubtedly added size to his frame this off-season to help as a force in the running game. Improving his strength was one of his biggest priorities, and it seemed as if he accomplished just that over the past few months.
According to Patricia Traina of SI, Matt Peart looked to improve one of his more prevalent deficiencies, adding more strength to his frame:
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.
Last season, the 24-year-old tackle allowed 2.0 sacks, five hurries, and nine pressures over 150 offensive snaps. He was far more efficient in run blocking but did post a few solid pass blocking performances over a smaller sample size. The maximum amount of pass-blocking snaps he experienced was 14 against Baltimore in Week 16, in which he allowed a sack and two pressures.
However, with more muscle mass and a year of experience under his belt, Peart is expected to take a sufficient developmental leap. With quick feet and the ability to reach the second level, running back Saquon Barkley will benefit tremendously from his qualities, but his pass blocking is where things need to improve drastically.
Ultimately, Peart and Solder offer different qualities, as the traditional left tackle (only played right tackle during his rookie season back in 2011) is a more proficient blocker in the passing game, whereas Peart appears to dominate in run blocking. Depending on the Giants’ scheme, we could see a rotational approach at right tackle to start the season, and if Peart takes the jump we anticipate, he could end up starting sooner rather than later.