Matt Pryor Update

Posted: July 31st, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Matt Pryor Update

There has been a buzz about Matt Pryor, the Eagles 6th round pick from TCU. Let’s talk more about him.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the pick. Pryor tested horribly in his workouts. While O-linemen don’t need to be great athletes, his workout numbers were not even close to the functional level. That made me nervous. There are exceptions to every rule, but most guys who post terrible numbers don’t pan out.

Pryor also didn’t always have great tape. Go watch the Oklahoma State game and you’ll see a highly inconsistent performance. He played better in other games, but still was a bit of an odd player to me. He just wasn’t my cup of tea.

Jeff Stoutland and Joe Douglas were very excited to get him. Douglas is a former OL himself and Stoutland is the OL coach so those guys have a good eye for finding blockers. What is it that they liked so much?

First and foremost, size. Pryor is 6-7, 338. While it is a cliche, you can’t coach size. You have it or you don’t. Pryor is huge. Just as important, he plays big. Pryor understands that his size is an asset and he uses it well. He is a bully when he run blocks, wanting to really mash on the guy across from him. In pass protection, he uses his length to force rushers to go wide to get around him.

Pryor started 32 games at TCU. He played both RG and RT. He’s not a project. He’s not limited prospect. The coaches see a guy who could play LG, RG or RT in the NFL. They see a player who has a good combination of experience and football knowledge.

Pryor is really effective when he gets his hands on a defender. He can lock on in pass protection and just control the rusher. Pryor has “heavy hands”, meaning that when he makes contact with a defender, that guy feels it. When he is run blocking, Pryor can really jolt defenders when he makes contact. Douglas and Stoutland love that kind of strength, power and physicality. Again, big guys need to play big.

There are times when Pryor struggles. He is slow off the ball. Some rushers beat him cleanly and all that size and length doesn’t mean a thing. Pryor is terrible at cut blocks. He looks more like he’s trying to fall on a grenade than explode through a defender’s legs. That’s the downside of being 6-7.

Some times Pryor was very good with stunts and twists. He showed good awareness and handled them well. If he was ever caught off guard, he struggled because he lacked the quickness to respond.

Pryor doesn’t have great feet, but he plays with a wide base and does bend his knees. Some tall blockers are too upright. That’s usually not an issue for him. The wide base makes it tough to get around him, but does slow him down if he has to adjust. Pryor uses his long arms to engage rushers and steer them wide.

TCU played a lot of hurry-up, high-tempo offense. That puts pressure on the OL to be in good condition so they can keep up with the pace of the offense. Pryor handled that well. He was a protector on the punt team (lining up in the backfield). He shifted between G and T from game to game and sometimes even in the same game.

I think Pryor might be best suited at RT in the NFL, where his length can be a real help. You generally don’t like OGs being all that tall. It allows DTs to get under their pads and drive them back. I do think Pryor can be a better NFL player than college player. He won’t be in as much of an up-tempo offense. Pro coaching will make a difference. The tools are there for him to be a solid player.

The lack of athleticism does still concern me. I will be watching Pryor closely in the preseason games.

He’s off to a great start with how he performed in the OTAs and so far in Training Camp.

*****

I wrote a piece for PE.com on the state of the Eagles.

The team is pretty healthy. The key players are back. There are some really good new players.

The coaches are back.

Life is good, so far.

Peter King touched on this in his Eagles TC report. There is a real positive vibe about the team right now. The magical chemistry of 2017 still seems to be present, and that gives them a real chance to repeat as Super Bowl champs.

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