“I was a Giants fan,” UConn right tackle Matt Peart told reporters during the recent NFL Scouting Combine.
The Bronx-born Peart indeed grew up cheering for Big Blue. The possibility now exists that the Giants, in need of help at offensive tackle, could select Peart somewhere in the middle rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft.
“My freshman year, that’s when the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I was probably like one of two kids on the whole campus,” Peart said. “I remember my history teacher, Miss O’Connell, we were chuckling in the back, she’s a die-hard Patriots fan, she said you Giants’ fans be quiet over there or I’ll give you a pop quiz.”
As the Giants brass continue to build around second-year quarterback Daniel Jones, the need for quality offensive lineman is big. Could Peart be part of the answer?
Then again, there’s probably another good dozen teams who wouldn’t mind having the 6-foot-6, 318-pounder, who measured in with 36 5/8-inch arms, tops among all offensive linemen.
Peart played all four years at UConn, spending his first two seasons at left tackle, then moving to the right side for his junior and senior seasons. He played for five different offensive coordinators, which meant versatility and flexibility in learning playbooks was a must.
Big Blue View’s Chris Pflum wrote that he 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.”
Peart feels he has decent technique but “whenever you transcend to another level there is always a learning curve.”
“The game is just that much faster. You have to equate that in your own way. From that standpoint I definitely understand there are definitely things I need to learn,” he said.
Peart told reporters he tries to replicate his game after Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith, particularly in efficiency.
“Watching him during my transition as a football player, he’s a man that is the peak of efficiency. After his back injury, you still didn’t see any wasted movement in regards to run blocking or pass blocking, he’s truly a dominant left tackle. That’s something I really try to model my game after,” said Peart.
As for his upbringing in The Bronx, Peart was blunt, saying “It wasn’t the worst, wasn’t the best. But I loved it.”
Loyalty appears to be a key motivator with him. He grew up a strong family man, looking up to his parents, two older brothers and cousins. In high school he was selected into the Oliver Scholars program, which prepares high-achieving Black and Latino students from underserved New York City communities for success at top independent schools and prestigious colleges.
Peart ended up staying at UConn for his senior year because he was so comfortable there. Now a year later, he has a chance to get drafted by his hometown Giants, who have legitimate needs on the offensive line.
Some draft boards see Peart going in the third round of the draft between picks 60 and 80. It’s hard to see the Giants investing their second-round pick, 36th overall, into Peart solely based on his projections thus far.
If he falls to the 99th pick, that could be a great opportunity for GM Dave Gettleman and company.