Philadelphia Eagles: Is Matt Pryor actually an offensive tackle?

(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images) /

After exclusively playing guard over his tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, is TCU product Matt Pryor actually an offensive tackle?

While Jordan Mailata may be the Philadelphia Eagles‘ resident offensive line Adonis, it’s hard not to look at his 2018 draft classmate, Matt Pryor, and be impressed by his physicality.

Measuring in at 6-foot-7, 332 pounds, Pryor is one of the largest guards – and players – in the NFL, and at 24-years-old, it’s hard not to project out the TCU product as an eventual starter based on his football looks alone.

However, Pryor is also among the slowest players in the league (5.60 40) and has been dubbed ‘lazy’ as far back as college – where he weighed 390 pounds as a freshman.

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Because of this lack of traditional athleticism, Pryor has never been considered a viable left tackle prospect despite having the ideal frame for the position, instead playing right guard and tackle exclusively for the Horned Frogs.

Though the decision to select Pryor 206th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft was a bit of a surprise, as Pryor’s big, mauler-style is kind of the anthesis of what they team typically targets at the position, it’s clear the scouting department has a soft spot for TCU lineman, even if they seldom place a hand in the ground on passing downs.

But what if the Eagles have been using Pryor wrong this whole time?

While fielding a 6-foot-7 guard is increasingly rare in the modern NFL, with recent examples including Alex Boone and Andrus Peat, it’s just as rare to find a team with an offensive tackle who runs a 5.6 40, as the position typically needs to be the most athletic across an offensive line.

Unfortunately, Pryor may be a man without a position, and could soon be looking for a new line of work outside of the game of football.

However, in a weird twist of fate, an injury to Mailata could have just increased Mailata’s chances of making the team in more ways than one.

You see, after Mailata went down with a lower-back injury, Pryor was forced into action as the Eagles’ left tackle in their final preseason game of the summer and in a game with basically no repercussions, the results were far more encouraging than anyone could have imagined.

Sure, he gave up a second quarterback on the eve of the 2-minute warning, but isn’t that kind of to be expected for a player in their first start at a new position? Mailata has given up a number of sacks on the season, and yet he remains a ‘promising prospect’.

After playing almost exclusively on the right side, Pryor played pretty well on the left side of the line and could start to be cross-trained as a legitimate four-position reserve.

For an NFL reserve, the best ability is versatility.

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Now sure, Matt Pryor may not have the same measurables as his TCU teammate Halapoulivaati Vaitai and may never become an NFL starter in Philly or otherwise, but with two more seasons left on his rookie deal, the Philadelphia Eagles owe it to themselves to see if he can become a viable swing-reserve worth keeping active on game day – a fate that seems more likely if Jordan Mailata lands on IR.