One of the greatest competitive advantages a team can have is the ability to develop later round players into starters, particularly along the offensive line. The New York Giants have consistently tried to develop linemen drafted in the middle and late rounds, but it has yet to work out over the last decade. So where teams like the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots have been able to develop fourth and fifth round talents into good starters, the Giants have been forced to invest high draft picks and huge chunks of their salary cap into the offensive line.
But just because it hasn’t worked out in the past doesn’t mean that developmental linemen shouldn’t be drafted.
UConn offensive tackle Matt Peart offers an intriguing blend of size, athleticism, and competitive toughness which could give him the tools to develop for a the right team. In some ways he reminds of Will Beatty, another UConn husky with length, athleticism, and surprisingly good run blocking who needed to develop more functional strength for the NFL.
Could Peart follow in Beatty’s footsteps and develop into a starter for the Giants?
Prospect: Matthew Peart, OT, UConn
Games Watched: vs. UCF (2018), vs. Wagner (2019), vs. UCF (2019)
Red Flags: None
Games Played: 48
Best: Length, athleticism, mobility, pass protection, aggression
Worst: Functional strength, leverage, hand usage
Projection: A developmental offensive tackle with starting potential
Matt Peart is a long, athletic, and aggressive offensive tackle from UConn. Peart has a prototypical frame for an NFL offensive tackle with little “bad” weight and long arms to go with his height. Peart reacts to the snap well and moves easily in to get depth and width in pass protection. He is able to match up with speed rushers off the edge, with a fluid lower body and quick, controlled footwork. He times his feet and hands well, routinely punching when he has a solid foundation. Peart shows some ability to anchor against bull rushes when he plays with leverage, as well as the ability to run athletic pass rushers around the pocket.
Peart is an aggressive blocker in the run game. He shows great competitive toughness in attacking defenders and consistently looking for work. His athleticism shows up in the run game as well, easily working off of combo blocks up to the second level. Peart is also a capable blocker in space on screen plays, getting out in front of the ball carrier well.
Peart needs to quicker, more aggressive, and more accurate in his hand usage. He consistently gets his hands on defenders second, and often outside their frame-work. Peart can struggle against power when he loses leverage, letting his base narrow and hips rise. When he does, he is prone to lunging and can’t anchor against power. Finally, Peart needs to show better awareness and react more quickly to late stunts or pressure.
Overall Grade: 6.0D - Peart is a prospect with promising traits who could develop into a starter, but will need a plan in place to develop those traits. A mid-round pick due to risk. [Grading Scale]
Matt Peart projects as a developmental offensive tackle with starting upside. He has the athleticism, mobility, and competitive toughness to play on the edge in the NFL, and teams will like his frame and length. Peart has the mobility to stand up to athletic pass rushers and the aggressive demeanor to be an asset in the run game. He will likely fit best in an offense which primarily uses zone blocking schemes for its running plays. He will need to build functional strength to hold up to NFL rushers who use power moves. Peart will also need to work on improving his consistency in leverage and hand usage to minimize any disadvantage in functional strength.