Indianapolis - After a season that saw the Patriots scrambling to find tackle depth, they might look no further than Storrs, Connecticut for reinforcements this offseason. Matt Peart might be UConn's only representative at the NFL Scouting Combine but he's already turning heads in Indy.
"It's a real dream come true," said Peart. "I'm really excited about this whole experience. It's kind of like the culmination of all your hard work."
A native of Jamaica, Peart moved to the Bronx when he was four and grew up playing basketball on the concrete jungles around New York City. In high school, Peart qualified for a scholarship that landed him at Governor's Academy in Newbury, Massachusetts, where he took up football and arrived just in time to see his favorite team defeat the locals in Super Bowl 46.
"I was a Giants fan," Peart said with a smile. "My freshman year, that's when the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl and I was probably like one of two kids on the whole campus that was kind of happy. I remember my history teacher Ms. O'Connell, we were chuckling in the back, and she's a diehard Patriots fan. She said 'You a Giants fan? Be quiet or I'll give you a pop quiz or something like that."
With those years, and three more Patriots Super Bowl titles now in the record books, Peart now has a different view of the team from New England and had already spoken with the team while at the Combine.
"It went pretty solid," said Peart. "That organization has my utmost respect for everything they've done and everything they're going to do in the future. I think my interview went pretty well."
With 37" arms, the longest measured at the Senior Bowl, the 6'7", 318 right tackle has ideal size to make the jump from UConn to the NFL. He's still raw from starting out with a basketball focus, but is focused on getting to the next level with some film study of the Patriots giving him a boost.
"From a Patriots standpoint I just kinda watch their scheme more than anything else, understanding how their run fits work with their passing game," said Peart.
With an everlasting need to stock and maintain their tackle depth, Peart could be a developmental find for the Patriots with some local roots.
Additional coverage from Wednesday at the NFL Combine: