This is a make-or-break year for the New York Giants offensive line. The team decided not to draft any offensive linemen, reaffirming their faith in the young ‘hog mollies’. Other than the battle for the offensive guard spots, the starting role at right tackle is also available. Veteran Nate Solder and second-year tackle Matt Peart are slated to compete for the job. Nate Solder is of value as a New York Giants right tackle, but it is not in his hands whether he is of value as a veteran starter or as a leader in the locker room alone. The ultimate decision will inevitably be based on whether or not they believe Peart is ready to start. With preseason games and real training camp returning, this should be an interesting battle to track this summer.
Matt Peart or Nate Solder: Examining the Choices for the Next Starting New York Giants Right Tackle
Making the Case for Matt Peart as the Next New York Giants Right Tackle
The New York Giants drafted Matt Peart out of the University of Connecticut with the 99th-overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. Peart started earning snaps in Week 3 in relief of a temporarily injured Andrew Thomas. As the weeks went by, Peart earned more playing time in place of his fellow rookie, Thomas, or other ineffective or injured players.
He earned a start at left tackle in Week 6 against the Washington Football Team in relief of a temporarily benched Andrew Thomas for tardiness at a team meeting. Peart’s snaps increased and he played primarily right tackle, though he never earned an official start on the right side.
Peart played well for a raw third-round pick with little expectations. In 84 pass-blocking snaps, he only allowed two sacks and nine pressures. He also proved to be a better run-blocker than veteran starter Cameron Fleming.
Starting Peart at right tackle in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos is the right decision if the New York Giants want to see the full results of their future offensive line.
Making the Case for Nate Solder as the Next New York Giants Right Tackle
It is difficult to make a case for Nate Solder as starting right tackle for opening day. While there are mostly negatives, positives do exist for the 33-year-old tackle.
In 2020, he opted out due to his son’s health issues after a career-worst year in 2019. Despite Solder’s high pass-block win rate, he allowed 11 sacks and 57 pressures in 16 games. His struggles did not help an aging veteran in Eli Manning nor a fresh rookie in Daniel Jones. Likely due in part to the instability at the position, Jones had ball security issues early.
Moving Solder to the right side would lessen the pressure on the vet coming back from a bout with adversity. In the last set of O.T.A.s, Will Hernandez started at right guard. Solder played alongside Hernandez in his first two seasons with the New York Giants. With both Hernandez and Solder switched to a side with less pressure, both are set up to succeed.
Whether or not both take advantage remains to be seen.
Late in the season last year, Matt Peart started to struggle a bit in pass protection. He struggled most notably against the Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens. Since Peart failed to produce as well toward the end of 2020, it may be best to give him some rest before giving him a bigger role.
Though Solder is coming off a rest year, he is the best candidate to start before Matt Peart takes the next step.
2021’s New York Giants Right Tackle: Who Starts in Week 1?
The sensible choice is for the New York Giants to start Matt Peart at right tackle in Week 1 against the Denver Broncos. Nate Solder’s opt-out and lack of football activity could potentially hurt his play as well as that of his teammates alongside him on the field. Though Peart struggled toward the end last year, his solid play against tough rushers slots him above Solder. It is also worthy of noting that Peart and Will Hernandez have been working with each other this offseason to strengthen their developing chemistry.
In a make-or-break season for multiple people on the field, on the sideline, and in the front office alike, the Giants need to see what they have in their young offensive linemen. The New York Giants also need to see their young line play together as a whole and not rotationally. Unless injuries happen, keep the older vets on the bench and allow the younger Matt Peart the opportunity to develop.
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