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NFL Draft: Giants like third-round offensive tackle Matt Peart's upside

Connecticut offensive lineman Matt Pear runs on to

Connecticut offensive lineman Matt Pear runs on to the field during Senior Day festivities before the start of an NCAA football game against East Carolina on Nov. 23, 2019, in East Hartford, Conn Credit: AP/Stephen Dunn

Joe Judge said 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 looked at Matt Peart, the unpolished and raw offensive tackle from UConn, he liked what that crystal ball showed him.

“He definitely has a lot of upside,” Judge said after the Giants used the 99th pick toward the end of the third round on Peart. “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 Massachusetts, that he began to play football. After four years he was recruited by UConn, and he was a four-year starter there.

Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman used the word “upside” several times while briefly discussing Peart after the pick. His size certainly impressed them. He is 6-7 and what the Giants called a “skinny” 315 pounds. At the NFL Combine, he measured a 36 5/8 inch armspan.

“He’s long, he’s big,” Gettleman said. “He’s a guy that the coaching staff really wanted to work with.”

The Giants had a long wait between picks on Friday night. After they selected Alabama safety Xavier McKinney with the 36th overall pick, 62 players were selected before they took Peart.

Gettleman chuckled ruefully at watching so much talent go to other teams during that span. The reason for the large gap in Giants picks was that they traded their third-rounder, 68th overall, to the Jets last year in exchange for Leonard Williams. Gettleman expressed no regret about that, even when that selection came up in the order.

“We made the decision last year on the third-round pick,” he said. “We were fine.”

Peart was the second offensive tackle selected by the Giants in the draft. They chose Georgia's Andrew Thomas with the fourth overall pick.

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 of 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 on Thursday night he wants to fix “once and for all.”

“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.”

New York Sports