The Philadelphia Eagles drafted Matt Pryor with the No. 206 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles offensive lineman, I reached out to SB Nation’s TCU blog: Frogs O’ War. Horned Frogs writer Melissa Triebwasser was kind enough to answer my questions about Pryor.
1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?
Matt Pryor was just so dang big when he arrived in Fort Worth from Southern California - which was to his benefit and detriment at the beginning of his career. He got to TCU weighing close to 400 pounds, and it took a redshirt year to show him how to properly condition and focus on ‘good weight’. It was a bit of a slow burn for Pryor as he went from rotational player to starter, but he didn’t miss a game over the final 27 games of his career, starting every one during his junior and senior seasons. And excellent pass blocker, Pryor cut his teeth during the Frogs’ offensive renaissance, playing in 19 games with five starts during the Trevone Boykin/Josh Doctson/Aaron Green glory years.
Pryor is consistent, reliable, and versatile - able to play tackle and guard and willing to do both during a single game. A coachable kid, he has improved his conditioning and footwork considerably over his five years at TCU, and really came into his own this past season under the tutelage of Chris Thomsen, the Frogs’ offensive line coach who returned to his alma mater prior to the 2017 campaign.
2) What are his strengths?
He’s big. Like, ridiculously large. You can’t easily move or displace him, which makes him super effective as a pass blocker. He can play multiple positions, which is such an advantage in the pros, and has improved annually, so it’s easy to think he hasn’t yet reached his potential. He seems to be very well liked and respected by his teammates and coaches, and will be a great guy in the community. Plus, he has Big V (no, I cannot spell Vaitai’s first name without google, despite covering him for two years, lol), who will help ease the transition and hopefully help him be ready to contribute early.
3) What are his weaknesses?
His enormity can be a bit of a downfall when he tries to block in space, and he needs to improve a bit as a run blocker. As has been well chronicled, he will need to stay on a strict diet and conditioning regime, as his weight can get away from him. But he is lean and fit now and seems focused on staying that way.
4) Are you surprised where he we as drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?
I was a little surprised he didn’t go a bit earlier, but I am really happy that he is going to an organization that is so successful, has great coaching, an incredible young QB, and has already had one TCU player become a contributor. It seems like the perfect fit, and I think he will do really well in Philly. I think the reputation he got prior to the draft of being a little lazy was unfair - if you watch his development all five years, it’s obvious he put the work in. I think that tag was given in regards to his weight, but trying being that large that young in college and see how you do keeping off that extra ten pounds.
5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?
Hopefully a lot like his former teammate - role player early on who takes advantage of an opportunity and becomes an every day player. He certainly has an NFL skillset and the work ethic to to play a long time in the league.
6) Anything to know about him off the field?
You don’t have anything to worry about with Matt off the field, he’s a good dude, bright, articulate, and well-liked by the people he regularly comes in contact with. He has a little of that laid-back So-Cal personality, but is a bear on the field. I’m hopeful that he will make the roster, play a lot of snaps, and never be talked about. That’s an offensive lineman’s dream, right?