"Once he gets his hands on you, you're done."
Offensive line coach/run game coordinator Jeff Stoutland praised the hand strength of rookie sixth-round pick Matt Pryor out of TCU.
When asked during the Rookie Camp about his coach's comment, the versatile lineman cited specific exercises and the way the strength coaches in college focused on upper-body development. He couldn't come up with a definitive reason for it.
Is it the hand size? At 11 1/2 inches, Pryor's hands were the biggest of all the offensive linemen at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, although he did not get an invite. Our own Fran Duffy's research indicated that the average hand size of a tackle/guard (separate from players who were only interior linemen) drafted over the past decade was 10 inches.
Pryor laughs when talking about the size of his mitts but doesn't joke around when it comes to the opportunity that he has in Philadelphia.
"It's a blessing. I've put in a lot of dedication trying to get to the next level. It's been a dream since I was young," Pryor said. "Being able to be a part of this team is an honor, being able to be under Coach Stoutland and perfect my craft."
Listed at 6-7, 338 pounds, Pryor started at both right tackle and right guard during his career at TCU. In 2017, he started eight games at right guard and six at right tackle. He was named a second-team All-Big 12 selection.
He's quite familiar with the players on the Eagles' roster. Pryor and Halapoulivaati Vaitai started together in college. Pryor has studied Jason Peters' jump set on tape and recognizes how Lane Johnson is "arguably the best right tackle in the league."
"That's a lot to learn from," Pryor said. "I feel as if I've got to show up every day and prove that I belong."
The Eagles' offensive line was named the best in the league in 2017 at the NFL Honors ceremony. All five starters return and that doesn't include Vaitai who will be a backup once Peters is 100 percent healthy from last season's knee injury. Isaac Seumalo and Chance Warmack opened a combined four games in the lineup.
Pryor knows of the challenges ahead, but all he has to do is look at his former college teammate, who went from being a fifth-round pick to Super Bowl starting left tackle in just two years.