EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - DECEMBER 15: Nick Gates #65, Jon Halapio #75, Will Hernandez #71, and Nate Solder #76 of the New York Giants line up against the Miami Dolphins during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 15, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Giants’ starting right tackle role is now wide open, but the team needs to remain patient with rookie Matt Peart.

Ryan Honey

Nate Solder opting out of the 2020 season amid concerns for his family’s health is an absolutely respectable move. But it’s undeniable that the New York Giants now possess an issue when it comes to the exterior of the offensive line.

With rookie Andrew Thomas potentially manning the quarterback’s blindside in the absence of Solder, the Giants will need to make a crucial decision in regards to who starts at right tackle.

Barring the team bringing in someone via free agency, the main options are the recently extended Nick Gates, the recently signed Cam Fleming, and the recently drafted Matt Peart.

Some believe the latter-most individual, the rookie third-round pick from UConn, could have a chance to win the job. But contrary to that belief, the Giants would be better off not making that move.

Sure, Peart is talented and definitely impressed at the collegiate level, having earned a spot on the All-AAC first team in his final season with the Huskies. Sure, he may have been a steal for the Giants in this past April’s draft.

But Peart is one of those players the coaches must show patience with until a certain amount of confidence is possessed. He’s not like Thomas, who was arguably the most NFL-ready offensive tackle in a draft class enriched with them. Peart is a developmental project, meaning he will be plugged into the starting lineup sometime in the future.

The present, rather, should be a period for him to learn the ins and outs of playing on a pro-level offensive line while earning special teams reps in order to build his on-field confidence. Throwing Peart into the fire right away may overwhelm him and hinder his overall development, something the Giants will be truly relying on over the next few years.

You also need to take into consideration the overall status of the offensive unit. If Peart starts right away, that would mean the Giants are starting a first-year player at either of the two tackle spots after a lost offseason that didn’t include the normal minicamp, rookie camp, or OTAs.

The success, chemistry, and consistency of the offensive line will all be imperative to Daniel Jones‘ development alongside his many young skill players. A group of “hog mollies” led by a pair of rookies could end up becoming a recipe for disaster, as the inexperience may trump all.

We also don’t know what we’ll truly see out of Peart. Maybe he doesn’t impress us like we think he will. Maybe he turns out to be the savior this offensive line needs. That’s the issue with all NFL rookies, especially the ones who were drafted and/or signed amid a weird and unusual offseason: we simply don’t know how they’ll fare.

I understand if some fans want the team to start fresh, implement each of the rookie tackles into the starting lineup, and move forward from there. I understand Peart building on-field chemistry with his offensive line counterparts as soon as possible could, in a way, be beneficial. But immediately throwing him into the starting lineup would come with a significant amount of risk, and who knows if there would even be much reward?

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