New Colts quarterback Matt Ryan will operate behind a number of top-tier blockers in 2022, including All-World performer Quenton Nelson at left guard, three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kelly at the pivot, and Braden Smith — who signed a four-year, $70MM extension one year ago — at right tackle. The left tackle and right guard spots, however, remain up for grabs.
Of course, the LT job is the most important one on the line, and Matt Pryor is currently penciled in as the Week 1 starter on Ryan’s blindside. The problem is that Pryor, a 2018 sixth-round pick of the Eagles, has just one start at left tackle in his career, which came in the penultimate game of the 2021 season as an injury replacement for Eric Fisher. Indianapolis acquired Pryor in a minor trade in advance of final cutdowns last August, which is indicative of his generally underwhelming performance during his two-year stint in Philadelphia.
On the other hand, Pryor demonstrated marked improvement in an admittedly small sample size with the Colts last year. In 438 offensive snaps, the TCU product did not allow a sack and earned a strong 76.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked him as the 25th-best tackle in the game — he also saw time at right tackle as a fill-in for Smith — and gave him high marks for both his pass-blocking and run-blocking acumen. The Colts were sufficiently impressed to re-sign Pyror to a one-year, $5.5MM contract this offseason, while Fisher remains a free agent.
Indianapolis did, however, select Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, a First-Team All-MAC left tackle last year, in the third round of April’s draft. Per Mike Chappell of Fox59.com, Pryor will open training camp with the first-stringers, but Raimann, who is viewed as the long-term solution at LT, will be given “every opportunity” to win the job.
It’s not difficult to see why the Colts are so optimistic about Raimann. Even though he began his collegiate career as a tight end and just converted to tackle in 2020, Lance Zierlien of NFL.com says the Austrian native is much more developed as a technician than one might expect. That technique combined with a tight end’s athleticism make Raimann an intriguing prospect, and while he still has plenty of work to do to reach his ceiling, it sounds as if he has a good chance to step right into a starting role as a rookie.
If that happens, then Pryor — who saw time at guard with Indy last year and whose work with the Eagles came on the interior of the line — could compete with 2020 fifth-rounder Danny Pinter for the RG gig.
“We’ll get the best five [O-linemen] on the field,” GM Chris Ballard said. “Whatever the coaches think are the best five, we’ll get them on the field.”