Bobby Hart now has the distinction of blocking for two No. 1 overall draft picks.
The rookie offensive lineman, who helped pave the way for Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston at Florida State, was thrust into NFL action for the first time on Sunday to protect Eli Manning. Guard Geoff Schwartz went down early with a fractured leg, and the Giants called Hart's number to play right guard on a unit that was already operating without its starting center and left guard.
"The outcome didn't come out as you would like," Hart said. "But just, overall, it was a good experience."
Added Hart: "Obviously, there are some things I can build on, like always. Actually a lot of things that I can build on, but I just overall want to get better, basically. That's what I take from this game. There is so much more that I can gain, so much more that I can see myself doing."
Coach Tom Coughlin assessed his performance the day after the game.
"He did OK, he had his moments, he had a couple of things that weren't done the way we wanted to," Coughlin said. "But he brought energy and he kept his poise and he battled, and those were plusses."
After being shut out in the first three quarters by the Redskins, Manning and the offense were able to make things interesting with two long touchdown strikes in the fourth quarter. However, it was too little and too late as they ran out of time in the 20-14 loss to Washington.
With five games to play in a playoff race, the Giants are working with unknown variables on the offensive line.
While Coughlin hopes to get back either Weston Richburg or Justin Pugh -- or both -- the team placed Schwartz on season-ending injured reserve on Tuesday. The Giants filled the roster spot by adding Adam Gettis, a guard who did two stints on the Giants' practice squad earlier this season. The Giants' lineup to end the Redskins game included Ereck Flowers at left tackle, John Jerry at left guard, Dallas Reynolds at center, Hart at right guard, and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
If Hart is called on again, he'll be ready.
Suiting up in four of the Giants' 11 games, Hart subscribes to the adage of "prepare like a starter." That includes a pregame warmup routine with assistant offensive line coach Lunda Wells, regardless of Hart being active or not.
Photo timeline from the Giants Week 12 matchup vs. Washington
"Just doing a little individual work, and if I'm not active that week, we go a little harder than usual," Hart said. "But when I'm active, you just get your body ready to play a game, really. That's all it is -- just making sure you're sharpening your tools before you go out."
Meanwhile, the big stage isn't anything new for Hart.
After attending St. Thomas Aquinas High School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), which tops the list of high schools with the most players (15) on NFL rosters in 2015, Hart was inserted into the starting lineup as a 17-year-old true freshman at Florida State. He went on to become an All-ACC lineman and a BCS national champion with the Seminoles. As a right tackle, he started on an offense that broke just about every major FSU and ACC record while Winston became the youngest Heisman Trophy winner ever in 2013.
For the Giants fans who don't know a lot about him yet, Hart said, "I'm just somebody who's going to them his everything. I'm just a football player, man. I just really love playing football."
The Giants have drafted Florida St. OL Bobby Hart