With a new contract and status as the lone returning starter on Jacksonville’s offensive line, Austin Pasztor is living proof of how quickly things can change in the NFL.
A year ago the 6-7, 308-pound Canadian was on the team’s practice roster. He was working to be a backup guard, but managed to get some repetitions in at tackle. He impressed enough that when the Jaguars traded tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens last season, Pasztor was inserted as the starter on the right side.
The son of an asparagus farmer then started 12-straight games, and was particularly impressive when facing Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt.
Pasztor told Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser that at first he wasn’t sure how he’d feel at tackle. Guards have a different perception of the depth of a quarterback’s drop than a tackle, he told Oehser, and there’s also a difference in pass protection (tackles need to delay contact with a pass rusher longer than a guard).
Oehser’s full piece is available here: http://www.jaguars.com/news/article-JaguarsNews/%E2%80%9914-offseason-Pasztor-at-a-starting-point/15d9721a-1316-442a-9621-277739bc2471
He began feeling comfortable after his third start, versus San Diego.
“It was one of those moments when you’re playing and you feel like things are going right for you,” he told Oehser. “When things are going that right for you, it makes you feel like ‘I belong here’ – ‘this is what I’m supposed to be doing’.
“I feel more comfortable at tackle. I feel like I’m ready to progress as a player.”
Pasztor’s NFL journey began on an asparagus farm in Langton, Ontario.
The work ethic developed by the 6-7, 308-pound Canadian on his family’s 100 acre asparagus farm translated into instant success on his Glendale High football team (near Tillsonburg).
His play at Glendale then earned him a spot on a travelling Canadian All Star team, a team that played an exhibition game against Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia prior to his senior year. Fort Union offered Pasztor a spot at the school, which then led to a scholarship at the University of Virginia.
After four seasons as a starter with the Cavaliers (Pasztor’s streak of consecutive starts reached 45 during his senior year) he was named a was named a second-team Associated Press All-American.
“I hadn’t ever played tackle at a high level before last season,” Pasztor told Oehser. “I had played tackle in high school, but I played quarterback and running back in high school too.”