INDIANAPOLIS – Being a left tackle in the NFL was something Matt Pryor had never seriously pondered until this past year.
Well, in one year, that thought has turned into a major dose of reality.
Pryor is the early favorite to be the Colts starter at left tackle this season, protecting the blindside of new quarterback Matt Ryan.
Telling him that last spring probably would have got the 6th round pick from 2019 to chuckle.
“Before last season, I never thought about playing that position,” Pryor says.
But while the Colts were crumbling to end last season, Pryor made the most of some rare left tackle opportunities.
A left tackle start against the Raiders, along with more playing time in the season finale vs. the Jaguars got Pryor thinking he might have a future at the most difficult offensive line position to find.
“The comfortability level kind of came while playing the (final two games) games,” the 27-year old Pryor says. “But this offseason, I really focused in on working that out when I was training.”
That training in Texas began with the 6-7, 322-pound Pryor shedding about 10-to-15 pounds, in an effort to move out to left tackle (Pryor still hopes to cut about handful of pounds).
Boxing classes were on his off-season workout list. He drilled as a left-handed boxer, so he could train his hips to being used to the motion of flipping the other way.
Pryor says the move feels “natural” as he goes through OTAs, but he knows the truer evaluation won’t come until training camp/games when the full pads get put on.
While Pryor will have to stave off a camp battle with rookie Bernhard Raimann, asking a third-round draft pick to start Day 1 at left tackle is quite rare.
Granted, Pryor probably would have said the same thing about his own left tackle future just one year ago.
But following back surgery after the 2020 season, Pryor received another chance when the Colts traded for him in August 2021.
Some of that played into Pryor wanting to re-sign with the Colts earlier this year.
“They took me out of a bad situation and took a shot on me,” Pryor says of the Colts trading with Philadelphia for him as an O-line depth piece last August. “Honestly, that was kind of the end-all. I love being around the guys in the room. It’s a great offensive unit having Straus (Chris Strausser) as a coach, he’s an elite coach.
“Just coming back in here, really honing down on the key components of the offense and not really having to go somewhere else and learn something new, that’s just what it came down to.”
And now Pryor enters his late 20s with an opportunity to totally change the rest of his NFL career.