Versatile, gigantic lineman have been a priority in recent seasons for the Eagles’ front office. Transitioning to more of a man/gap scheme because of former Alabama offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland’s heavy involvement in gameplanning the ground game, the profile of recruits has changed somewhat. Brandon Brooks, one of the marquee signings of the new regime, has freakish size. Complementing his arrival, Stefen Wisniewki has solidified the guard position opposite, offering additional versatility to man the middle position on the line if needed. Backup options Chance Warmack and Isaac Seumalo resemble the starters, with their size and versatility respectively. In the seventh-round the Eagles opted for a prospect who fits both categories. TCU’s Matt Pryor stands at a massive 6-foot-6 and 340 pounds, manning both the right guard and tackle positions in college, let’s take a look at how he performed for the Horned Frogs.

Where he thrives
There is nothing worse than an offensive lineman who plays smaller than his size. Pryor looks every bit 340 pounds, and he makes that weight count. He’s a good fit for the Eagles’ version of Crimson Tide smash mouth football, debilitating offensive lineman with his strength on a variety of man-to-man blocks. He excels on combination blocks in particular, offering major impact whether required to sustain the double team or chip from an angle. Pryor also widens the point of attack on down and pull blocks, showing the full repertoire for a power-based scheme.

Overall, Pryor is an effective run blocker. He does a good job of staying under control, using measured strides to maintain balance whistle to whistle. Despite his height, Pryor plays with pretty good leverage, preventing shorter defensive lineman from getting underneath him to win duels in the run game. He also plays with good eye discipline, recognising linebackers attempting to shoot gaps and doling out punishment when the opportunity arises. Pryor isn’t quite at the level of tone-setter, he appears to lack a brutish mentality and doesn’t always finish with authority, but he’s capable of inflicting fear in opposing defensive fronts.

Crucially, Pryor also appears to possess the quick feet required of NFL offensive lineman. He’s not great in space (more on that below), but he flashes movement skills in tight spaces. Out on the open plains, he’s a bit of a wounded zebra, but get him in the confines of a trench and watch him navigate the narrow confines with ease. Although not a strength, Pryor’s capable of executing a zone scheme. He flashes the ability to make reach blocks across shades, and uses his intelligence and timing to assist teammates effectively before climbing to the second level. The ability to sell play action – and fakes generally – also shows up on tape, indicating he has the mental attributes to complement his physical skillset.

The speed of footwork also benefits Pryor in pass protection, especially when he’s on an island out at right tackle. He can redirect without too much difficulty despite his weight, generally enjoying a good season protecting the edge. The former Horned Frog also has a strong anchor and good awareness, making him difficult to beat with power or trick on stunts. Pryor has the tools to develop into a capable right tackle, potentially filling a position where the Eagles need depth.

Where he struggles
Despite his evident strengths, Pryor remains fairly raw. He needs a ton of work on his technique, particularly his hand placement. Technical issues show up frequently in both the run game and pass protection for Pryor. At times he won’t use his hands at all, lazily throwing a shoulder into defensive lineman. Stoutland has his work cut out to mould Pryor’s hand usage in pass protection as well. Although he can move well enough to play tackle, his inside arm is incredibly ineffective on contact. Generally, he’s overly passive with his initial punch, allowing edge rushers to get into his pads and control reps. Because he fails to generate spacing on contact with a weak inside arm, Pryor leaves himself vulnerable to speed rushers getting underneath him and round the edge. Oklahoma’s Ogbonnia Okoronkwo gave him particular difficulty in their matchup in the Big 12 championship.

Pryor is also incredibly cumbersome when asked to block in space. He lumbers up to the second level, then struggles to track linebackers because he’s so heavy set. Reports suggest he struggled to keep his weight down at times at TCU. He’ll almost certainly need to lose a few pounds to succeed in the pros. Perhaps more concerning is his tardiness off the snap, suggesting a lack of anticipation that won’t be easy to overcome. He got away with it at times in college, but NFL players will feast on Pryor unless he improves his snap-count timing.

Pryor has the experience, size and tools of an attractive developmental tackle prospect. He can be mean in the run game, and has the nifty feet to survive a tough slate of NFL edge rushers. If he can clean up his technical issues, Pryor might end up looking excellent value in the seventh round.

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