Should the New York Giants start Matt Peart at left tackle in week 7?

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants enjoyed a scrappy win over the Washington Football Team in week 6, but it was their defense that rose to the occasion and secured the victory. While the offense only managed 13 points, as Daniel Jones threw a red zone interception and failed to convert on third downs consistently, Patrick Graham’s unit found a way to supplement their deficiencies.

Thanks to a Tae Crowder fumble recovery for a touchdown, Big Blue walked away happy for the first time this season. It was Joe Judge’s first win, but it didn’t come without some interesting moves before the game. Left tackle Andrew Thomas started on the bench, with Matt Peart, third-round pick out of the University of Connecticut, receiving the start.

There were a few noticeable differences between Thomas and Peart early on, specifically that Peart was far better in the run game.

Check out the clip below, where Peart stands tall and uses his leverage to seal the edge for Devonta Freeman, who picks up a nice chunk of yards. This is something that we hadn’t seen with Thomas through five weeks, as he allowed Montez Sweat, later on, to completely demolish him and stop Devonta on her third and short.

Ultimately, Thomas is walking on thin ice, as he currently hosts a 57 overall grade and posted a 31.7 pass-blocking grade in week five against Dallas. His run blocking has gradually improved, but it did not look good against Washington. His inconsistencies have put the Giants in a difficult position, as they are now likely contemplating moving him to right tackle and Peart to left tackle.

The New York Giants need to do what’s best for Daniel Jones:

Putting quarterback Daniel Jones under immediate pressure over and over again is simply not a recipe for success. Peart’s improvement at the position helped the Giants move the ball down field on multiple occasions. They have to stick with their guns and prioritize players who are showing more development. Thomas has clearly taken multiple steps back and has not experienced the progression we hoped when he was selected fourth overall in the draft.

That is a big concern, though, as benching your top-five draft pick from this past off-season for a third-rounder is simply unacceptable.

While Thomas has plenty of time to refine his abilities and continue growing in the NFL, this step backward is not a good look for general manager Dave Gettleman. Hopefully, they can find a place for him on the line, as right tackle seems to be more enticing with every passing week.

New York Giants: Rookie Offensive Tackles Cross Training In Practice

The New York Giants drafted two offensive tackles in the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. Big Blue selected Andrew Thomas out of Georgia with the fourth overall pick in the first round. They then followed that up with Matt Peart out of UConn in the third round.

Thomas is a polished prospect who will be prepared to start day one for the Giants. Peart, on the other hand, might need to take some time to develop. The ninety-ninth overall selection in the draft is not likely to be a week one starter on the Giants’ offensive line this season.

Andrew Thomas will be a week one starter, presumably. The question with Thomas now, is, where will he start on the offensive line? Will he be the team’s left tackle or right tackle?

Where Will Andrew Thomas Line Up?

After 2019’s starting offensive tackle Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season, it seemed likely that Andrew Thomas would step into the starting left tackle position. But there were some fans advocating for Thomas to play right tackle, instead, even before and after Solder opted out.

This line of thinking pencils Thomas in as the team’s left tackle for the foreseeable future, while planning to move ahead with Matt Peart as the team’s right tackle down the road. But after the Giants’ recent practices, this scenario does not seem set in stone.

While the likely scenario sees Thomas at left tackle and Peart at right tackle, there is another scenario where the two players swap positions. The Giants are preparing for this scenario, giving the offensive tackles practice reps on both sides of the line.

According to Ryan Dunleavy, Matt Peart was working at left tackle today:

Versatility on the offensive line is crucial. The Giants recognize this and are training their rookie tackles to be prepared to play on either side of the offensive line.

New York Giants’ Matt Peart might end up the steal of the draft

New York Giants, Matt Peart

If the New York Giants have done anything right this off-season, it is that they’ve brought in multiple players to compete for positions. Going into the preseason with cemented players can sometimes be a negative thing, especially oppositions with a void. When Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season, the offensive line got a little more interesting in terms of development and progression.

When the Giants drafted Matt Peart in the third round of the NFL draft, nobody expected him to be competing for a starting job right away. It was known that he needed a bit of refinement and more muscle mass to aid in his development.

However, this off-season, Peart put on 9-pounds of solid muscle mass. He physically looks more built and has the strength to hold his ground against NFL level pass rushers. Of course, there’s plenty of more work to be done in the fundamentals and technique categories, but having the size is undoubtedly part of the equation.

Peart has a long road ahead to crack the New York Giants’ starting team:

Peart will compete with Cameron Fleming, Andrew Thomas, and Nick Gates for a starting tackle spot, which puts him at the back of a long line.

Nonetheless, he finished in the 90th percentile of all tackles during the 2020 NFL combine. He had the longest reach at 36 5/8 inches and stands at 6-foot-6.

In his senior year in 2019, he allowed just two sacks, one quarterback hit, and four quarterback hurries over 415 pass-blocking snaps. He’s never missed a game due to injury and simply has elite athleticism, which promotes his upside in the NFL.

I believe the Giants will take a more monitored approach with Peart, who still needs time to gain his sea-legs in the NFL. Nonetheless, he has plenty of potential and giving him some starting reps later in the 2020 season might benefit him.

Specifically, the Giants have a game against the Cincinnati Bengals that would match up well for him and his first action. The first nine games of the season and more are littered with elite talent and pass rushers. Andrew Thomas will certainly have his hands full to start his young career. Nonetheless, Peart should be eased into action and given a more simple match up to test his development.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas discusses what he needs to improve

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

New York Giants rookie offensive tackle Andrew Thomas will presumably be one of the team’s starting tackles this season, especially with veteran Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 NFL season.

Other candidates to start on both sides are Nick Gates, third-round draft pick Matt Peart and free-agent signee Cam Fleming.

Thomas harps on technique being among the crucial adjustments from college football to the NFL (quotes courtesy of Giants.com).

“In college, if you are faster and stronger and you know your assignment, you usually do well. At this level, there is so much technique that you have to learn. There are so many things before the snap, before the ball even hikes. I think that’s the biggest adjustment.”

Thomas started three seasons at Georgia, playing both tackle positions (26 games at left tackle and 15 games at right tackle).

Among the new faces on the Giants sideline is offensive line coach Marc Colombo, who previously held the same position with the Dallas Cowboys. Colombo was also a starting tackle in the NFL.

Thomas has found Colombo to be a transparent voice.

“It plays a big role. He can actually, like you said, show us exactly what he wants. What’s the steps, what’s the hand placement, and it relays the message a little bit better for us than just having somebody saying what they want. As far as building a relationship, we are starting to grow closer, during this time. Over zoom, it was a little bit harder to build a relationship, it’s starting to get better now.”

Thomas is working on “keeping his hands inside.”

“For me, the biggest thing right now, especially in pass pro, is my hands. In college, I had a bad habit of having my hands outside my frame. I’m working on keeping my hands inside and getting a good strike. In the run, game just keep a good base. Sometimes I get a little too excited trying to get to the block. Just make sure I keep a good base each time.”

New York Giants: One young offensive lineman could be rushed into action after Nate Solder opt-out

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants have several difficult decisions to make on the offensive line after veteran tackle Nate Solder opted out of the 2020 season. After saving $9.9 million in cap space, they have a bit more flexibility to sign free agents if need be. However, I imagine general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge would prefer to roll over the available cap to 2021.

Nonetheless, losing Solder will present issues in the trenches. With the Giants’ most experienced player at the position departing for the season, they will now have to rely on new commodities to supplement his loss. Players like fourth-overall pick Andrew Thomas, new signing Cameron Fleming, former undrafted free agent Nick Gates, and third-round pick Matt Peart seem to be the preferred options.

Fleming and Thomas are the leaders in terms of earning a starting spot. Having spent a top-five pick on Thomas, the expectation is that he will fill the left tackle position. On the right side, Fleming has experience, more-so than Gates. Some might argue that Thomas should start on the right side and Fleming on the left side, but I believe Judge will institute position battles across-the-board to shake things into place.

The New York Giants could call one youngster into action earlier than anticipated:

Peart, who was drafted in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft, could end up earning starting reps in 2020. If any injuries occur or deficiencies begin to limit the Giants’ success on offense, they could call on the University of Connecticut product.

The rookie performed at the top of the combine class in 2020, finishing in the 90th percentile of all tackles. At 6-foot-6, he generally has the size to start at tackle. He just lacks the technique and a bit of muscle mass. Working out in an NFL weight room with professional coaches should do wonders for his physique, and learning from offensive line coach Marc Colombo will give him all the tools he needs to develop quickly.

The Giants could need him sooner rather than later, so expediting his development will be a necessity for Colombo.

New York Giants: How Nate Solder’s Opt-Out Affects The Rest Of The Linemen

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Jon Halapio, Mike Remmers

Major news broke out for the New York Giants yesterday as starting offensive tackle Nate Solder announced that he was opting out of the 2020 NFL season. Solder is a high-risk opt-out as he has a son fighting an ongoing battle with cancer. Nate Solder is doing the right thing opting out to protect his family and their health.

For the Giants, this news has major implications. Nate Solder’s absence in the 2020 season will create a huge shift along the offensive line. How exactly does Nate Solder’s opt-out affect the rest of the offensive linemen?

New York Giants: Reviewing 3 competitors for the starting right tackle spot

New York Giants, Nick Gates

With Nate Solder electing to opt-out of the 2020 season citing family and health concerns, the New York Giants now have to find their starting right tackle a different way. Previously, the expectation was that they would utilize Solder in a position battle at right and left tackle to see where he shook out.

However, things have changed quickly, and fourth-round pick Andrew Thomas is now more inclined to start at left tackle. While some may argue that it is better to insert him on the right side to develop, you don’t draft a player in the top five picks not to utilize him in his intended fashion.

Let’s take a look at three competitors for the New York Giants at right tackle:

1.) Nick Gates

The Giants love Nick Gates and the tenacity he brings to the offensive line. Having spent time at right tackle and right guard in 2019, he showed the ability to adapt and play well at both positions. While he’s been projected as a center competitor during training camp, the Giants will undoubtedly slide him in on the right corner to battle it out. Ultimately, it might be in his best interest to become a starting right tackle in the NFL, as they get paid far more than centers.

However, he has been working with Las Vegas Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr, featuring under center. Nonetheless, he filled in for guard Kevin Zeitler last season with an 82.1 overall grade, according to PFF. Against the Dolphins, he didn’t allow a single pressure, and with Zeitler expected to return to the lineup in full force, right tackle and center seem to be his best chance at earning a starting spot.

New York Giants: Could Matt Peart earn starting reps at right tackle in 2020?

New York Giants, Matt Peart

The New York Giants are heading into the 2020 season with questions remaining on the offensive line. Despite drafting Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick, the continuity in the trenches has yet to be established. General manager Dave Gettleman made it a priority to solve the offensive line once and for all, but it will take time with the injection of youth.

One developmental player the Giants landed was third-round pick, Matt Peart, out of the University of Connecticut. While he’s projected to play right tackle for the Giants, he actually fits the left tackle spot better. His frame and reach make him an ideal fit for the position, after putting on a bit more muscle mass. However, Thomas is the expected heir to the throne on Daniel Jones’ blindside, with Peart hopefully developing on the right side.

The New York Giants gained a high-upside player in the UConn product:

Peart performed at the top of the combine class in 2020, finishing in the 90th percentile of all tackles. His reach, which was the longest at the combine, was 36 5/8-inches. At 6-foot-6, Gettleman and new head coach Joe Judge are excited to see how his frame grows into itself. Some time in the weight room and working with NFL level coaches should do the trick.

There’s a lot to like when it comes to Peart, considering he was a starter as a freshman in 2016. He has played both left and right tackle, starting 12 games on the left side in 2017 and the remainder of his games at right tackle. In his senior season last year, he allowed 2 sacks, 1 quarterback hit, and four quarterback hurries over 415 pass-blocking snaps. One positive trait is his health history. Peart never missed a game due to an injury in college.

His athletic ability is simply off the charts. Playing soccer, basketball, track, and lacrosse in high school, he has shown the ability to adapt quickly to different sports. That should give him a competitive advantage at tackle, something the Giants have desperately needed with lackluster performances in recent years.

The New York Giants are also dealing with Nate Solder, who is coming off an extremely poor season where he allowed 11 sacks and five penalties. With his dead cap decreasing to just $6 million in 2021, the expectation is that the Giants will release him and save the salary. Peart isn’t ready to start any games just yet, but if he fills out quickly, Judge could give him an opportunity to showcase his skills this upcoming season.

New York Giants: What Will The Starting Offensive Line Look Like In 2020?

New York Giants, Nate Solder, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants have had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL over the past few years. The team has struggled to find consistent offensive tackle play since investing a top-ten pick in Ereck Flowers in 2015. From Flowers to Solder, the Giants have been disappointed by their recent expensive offensive line investments.

New York is hoping that that trend of disappointing offensive line investments ends after this season. This offseason, the Giants invested heavily in their offensive line, drafting three linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Giants also signed an offensive tackle in free agency and significantly upgraded their offensive line coach.

Giants fans are hopeful about their offensive line for the first time in a while. Andrew Thomas was drafted fourth overall, signaling a cultural shift by the Giants towards a more traditional team-building philosophy. The Giants are prioritizing the offensive line and finally, for the first time in years, have depth in the positional group.

Projecting the 2020 Offensive Line

 

  • LT – Andrew Thomas
  • LG – Will Hernandez
  • C – Nick Gates
  • RG – Kevin Zeitler
  • RT – Nate Solder
  • Depth – Spencer Pulley, Shane Lemieux, Cameron Fleming, and Matt Peart
  • OL Coach – Marc Colombo

The Starting Five

The Giants drafted Andrew Thomas to be the team’s left tackle of the future. Some have suggested that Thomas should start his career at right tackle, but in my opinion, Thomas should start at left tackle right away.

Nate Solder allowed 11 sacks in 2019 according to Pro Football Focus, the third most out of any offensive tackle in the NFL. To make matters even worse, Solder allowed 57 pressures in 2019. This was the most of any offensive lineman in the NFL. Andrew Thomas played 1,075 pass-block snaps in his collegiate career. On those snaps, Thomas allowed only 37 total pressures. He also has not allowed more than 2 pressures in a game since 2017 (his freshman season at right tackle). It is highly possible that Andrew Thomas is the best left tackle on the Giants’ roster despite never playing a snap in the NFL.

Will Hernandez is entering his third NFL season after taking a small step back in 2019. Big Will looked promising as a rookie but struggled to develop as a sophomore. This could have been for a couple of reasons: Hernandez was playing between two bad players, and the Giants’ coaching staff was one of the league’s worst. Luckily for Hernandez, both of these problems seem to have been fixed. This could be his breakout season.

The center position is by far the biggest question mark on the Giants’ roster in 2020. There will be a positional battle at center during training camp and preseason. In my opinion, Nick Gates is the top candidate for the position. Gates finished the 2019 season with a 77.0 overall grade and only 1 sack allowed in 290 snaps (Pro Football Focus). However, Spencer Pulley could win the job based on seniority and past experience. Gates has never played center before but has been impressive in limited snaps at offensive guard and offensive tackle.

Despite never making the Pro Bowl in his career, Kevin Zeitler has been one of the best pass-blocking offensive guards in the NFL. Also according to Pro Football Focus, Zeitler finished with the sixth-best grade among guards and posted a strong 75.0 pass-blocking grade — the sixth-straight year he’s achieved that mark. Zeitler is a lock for the Giants’ right guard position and should get a contract extension after his contract expires next offseason.

Solid Depth

Nate Solder is likely to move over to right tackle, but if that does not go well, the Giants have solid depth pieces behind him. New York signed Cam Fleming this offseason to be a swing tackle or backup offensive tackle. They also drafted Matt Peart out of UConn in the third round. Peart is not likely to be ready for NFL action in his first season, but he has a lot of potential down the road as a starting offensive tackle.

An Improved Coaching Staff

The hiring of Marc Colombo was huge for the Giants. Colombo has helped maintain the Dallas Cowboy’s offensive line’s status as one of the best in the NFL. Cowboys players have stated that Colombo’s relatability in his youth helped the offensive line grow and gravitate towards its coach.

“I’ve had the pleasure of being around a lot of people in this game. But Marc is in the front of the class. That’s the ultimate compliment I can give him. You get inspired by Marc every day you’re around him.” – Jason Garrett on Mar Colombo via ESPN

 

New York Giants: Ranking the 2 most underrated 2020 NFL draft picks for Big Blue

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes

On paper, the New York Giants have a productive 2020 NFL Draft, having landed a high-floor offensive tackle in Andrew Thomas, the highest-rated safety in Xavier McKinney, and a bevy of other high-upside players. Notice the operative word, “high,” and how frequently it’s used to describe these players — elevation, increase, more, raised, lofty, a few synonyms to build off of when detailing the Giants’ new crop of players.

While Thomas and McKinney’s value is quite clear, Big Blue landed several other players that deserve ample attention, as they acquire the talent to excel at the NFL level.

Here are 2 of the more underrated draft picks for the New York Giants:

1.) Darnay Holmes

Holmes is one of my favorite players coming out of the Giants’ draft class, and while he was coined the crop’s top nickel corner, he’s only played in the slot one time – during the Senior Bowl. Holmes is a feisty corner with below-average size at 5-foot-10, 195-pounds. I imagine he will add some more muscle to his frame, but he has the perfect size to play inside against speedy receivers.

Not only is Holmes a high-character guy with a unique story, but he has also learned the ropes from some of the best players in NFL history.

“He might be the sleeper [defensive back] in the draft,” Rod Woodson told ESPN. “I know he was taken in the fourth round. But I like his mindset. No coach can measure one’s heart and one’s mind until you start playing. I think when I’ve seen him playing and talked to Carnell and his son, just the way he moves and how fluid he is and has that recall during the games when people are doing stuff to him that makes you kind of excited to watch a player like that.”

Deion Sanders stated Holmes had a “flawless” and “unbelievable” combine workout. The advocational words he gained from some notable people stand out, and Holmes has backed up the hype with quality play. After suffering a high-ankle sprain in 2019, he ignored medical advice and rejoined his team prematurely, severely limiting his efficiency but showing his grit and leadership as team captain.
Analyzing his stats from last season to de-value him is malpractice since he had a solid year in 2018. Given the potential he has, Holmes is easily one of the bigger steals for the Giants.
2.) Matt Peart
It’s not often a team lands a starting left and right tackle in the same draft class. Peart needs a bit of development, but the New York Giants have the time to offer him. He can spend the entire 2020 campaign refining his abilities and improving in pass-sets, but he has every tangible trait to prove upper management right.
Offensive line analyst, Matt Giannettino, gave us an in-depth breakdown on Peart Via Youtube, stating:

Strengths:

Super athletic quick on his feet nimble especially for his size and his life is really good on his pass sets,when he stays square with his head up he does his best work.

Weakness:

Can be a little weak on point of attack but that has to do with not rolling his hips consistently. He also plays a bit high of pad level because of his size. i actually believe if he adds weight that could help him.

In summary, he need to be a little bit more consistent in all of his technique but most importantly his hip flexibility for his athleticism and mobility along with his lane are really some good traits for the Giants to work with moving forward.

I wouldn’t expect Peart to jump right into a starting role, but if the Giants can develop him into a productive player at right tackle, they will have walked away from a single draft with two starters at some of the highest-paid positions in football.