According to his head coach Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts left tackle Matt Pryor has ‘earned the starting spot’ along the blindside (via The Athletic’s James Boyd):
Colts coach Frank Reich on Matt Pryor:— James Boyd (@RomeovilleKid) August 21, 2022
“Matt has deserved and earned the spot that he's in right now as the No. 1 left tackle. … I thought it was great for him to get a little bit of extra work this week, given that he was newer to the lineup than everybody else.”
The 27 year old left tackle was acquired last offseason by the Colts and really shined in starting spot duty—earning a +76.5 overall grade from PFF in 2021 during 5 starts. His debut campaign with the Colts included 94 snaps at left tackle, 266 snaps at right tackle, and 69 snaps at right guard.
He was rewarded by being re-signed to a 1-year, $5.545M deal earlier this offseason.
Pryor’s play last season is a big reason why the Colts felt comfortable enough to let veteran starter Eric Fisher walk in free agency once initial contract talks broke down between the two sides and shared no real reported interest in other veteran free agents such as Duane Brown. Once re-signed, Pryor has been in the driver’s seat for the starting job ever since.
Pryor hasn’t been perfect in training camp and preseason, but he has shown enough to fend off rookie third round pick Bernhard Raimann for first-team left tackle—at least as of now.
The Colts still have confidence in Raimann’s long-term upside and potential, but he could use some further refinement in the short-term—as he develops. It’s difficult to start as a rookie left tackle from the get-go in the NFL, unless you’re typically a team’s top draft pick.
That being said, it’s quite possible that Raimann could eventually usurp Pryor as the season progresses—if the incumbent can’t nail the job down because of inconsistent or shaky play.
As it stands though, the man entering the offseason as the projected starter at left tackle remains as it nearly concludes, Matt Pryor, as he received a recent vote of confidence from his head coach.