When teams draft an offensive tackle, they often do so thinking about a side. Right tackles are usually bigger and stronger, left tackles typically more nimble and athletic.
When the Giants selected Matt Peart with the 99th pick near the end of the third round on Friday night, they definitely had a side in mind.
That’s the word Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman used multiple times in a brief conversation about the 6-7, 318-pound project they added.
“He definitely has a lot of upside,” Judge said. “I don’t want to say he’s developmental. He’s developing . . . I think we’re going to see a lot better football in the future than we’ve seen from him already.”
Peart was born in Jamaica and moved to the Bronx as a youngster. He played basketball for most of his childhood and it wasn’t until he went to The Governor’s Academy, a private high school in Newbury, Massachusetts, that he began to play football. After four years, he was recruited by UConn, and he was a four-year starter there.
Peart embraces his position as a work in progress.
“It just means that I just want to dedicate myself to be a better student of the game and wherever I need to improve, you best believe I’m willing to do the work,” he said Saturday. “I’m ready to work right now.”
Peart was the second offensive tackle selected by the Giants in the draft. They chose Georgia’s Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick. The two of them even trained together in Florida before the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I definitely considered him to be a brother and now he’s definitely a brother,” Peart said of his new teammate. “He can’t get rid of me now!”
Thomas is expected to be a day one starter for the team. Peart? He’ll likely start as a swing tackle off the bench and then, if he fulfills the Giants’ vision for him, eventually break into the starting lineup. At some point in the not-distant future, Thomas and Peart could become bookend tackles for an offensive line that Gettleman said Thursday night he wants to fix “once and for all.”
The Giants also selected guard Shane Lemieux from Oregon with the 150th overall pick in the fifth round as they stockpiled players for that overdue project.
“We feel real good about it,” Gettleman said of the overhaul. “We feel real strong adding them to what we already have now.”
Judge said last week that one of the biggest lessons he brought with him from the Patriots was the ability to scout a prospect and see past what he is while focusing on what he can become. When Judge and the Giants coaches looked at Peart, they liked what that crystal ball showed them.
“I always like having athletic players who you don’t feel are tapped out,” Judge said. “This guy has a skill set. He’s still learning . . . These are guys you really want to work with.”