EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge are serious about restocking the Giants' offensive line.
Though the team could certainly use infusions of talent and depth at several positions, the third-year general manager and first-year coach added a second tackle among their three draft choices Friday night when the Giants selected Matt Peart of the University of Connecticut.
The other position on the line that Gettleman expressed interest in strengthening prior to the draft was center. But when it was time to make the choice, he went with another tackle.
"It's about value," Gettleman said. "He was too good of a value to pass by. We had him rated well above the rest of the other centers on our board.
"(He) is long, he's big. He's a 315-pound kid that's skinny. We interviewed him a number of times, he's a great kid. He's athletic and he's long and we think he has a lot of upside for a young kid. He's a guy that the coaching staff really wanted to work with."
Peart joins Georgia's Andrew Thomas, selected fourth overall, as new Giants linemen. In the second round, the Giants bolstered the back of their defense by taking Alabama safety Xavier McKinney.
"It's rare to describe someone as 315 pounds and skinny but that's what he is," Judge said of Peart. "He's an athletic guy, he has a lot of length to him. We feel good about his character and his work ethic. He's excited to come on in here and work hard and we can't wait to get him on the field."
Peart was the 35th choice in the third round and the 99th overall. He was taken with the first of the Giants' three compensatory picks; the other two are in the seventh round. The Giants traded their own third-round choice last October to the Jets for defensive tackle Leonard Williams.
After redshirting in 2015, Peart started all 48 games in his four-year career at UConn – 24 at right tackle in his first two seasons and 24 at left tackle in his final two years.
"I think his athleticism is going to lend him to being a swing tackle early on in his career and work on both sides," Judge said. "We don't limit any of our guys to just play on one side. We have to cross train everybody. If you play on the left side, you have to be able to play on the right side as well. That's going to go ahead and lend to what we need based on roster situation and game plans."
In 2019, Peart was selected first team All-Conference by the American Athletic Conference. He was the anchor of an offensive line that produced two 1,000-yard rushers in 2018 and another last year. Peart was a team captain in 2019 and an invitee to the 2020 Senior Bowl.
Peart likely will not come in and start immediately, but both Gettleman and Judge believe he could develop into something special.
"He definitely has a lot of upside," Judge said. "I don't want to say he is developmental, he is developing, and they all are. He's got tremendous work ethic, he's got a great attitude. I think we are going to see a lot better football in the future than we've seen from him already. That's what makes us really excited to work with these guys that we're bringing in.
"I always like having athletic players who you don't feel like are tapped out. … I think we've got the right line coach to go ahead and work with him between Marc (Colombo) and Ben (Wilkerson). This guy's got tremendous upside. His athleticism, his physical build and then just his character and work ethic. You put those things together and these are guys you really want to work with."
"I think he has a sizeable ceiling," Gettleman said. "He's young and he really has a lot of talent. We really like the upside on him."
*Peart is the first Giants' draftee from UConn since wide receiver Geremy Davis in 2015. He is the first UConn lineman taken by the Giants since Will Beatty in 2009.
*Barring a trade, the Giants will have seven selections Saturday on the third and final day of the draft:
- Round 4 (110)
- Round 5 (150)
- Round 6 (183)
- Round 7 (218)
- Round 7 (238)
- Round 7 (247)
- Round 7 (255)