During an appearance on former The Bachelor star Ben Higgins and pal Ashley Iaconetti's podcast, Eric was asked flat out if Rachel picked the right man in the end.
"Oh man, that's a great question. Open it up. There we go, go for the jugular! Honestly, from watching the show...I don't think she picked the right man in that moment," Eric confessed on The Ben and Ashley I: Almost Famous Podcast.
After Rachel selected Bryan, a 37-year-old chiropractor from Miami, FL, at the end of her journey to find love, he proposed marriage, and now the couple claims to be happily engaged and madly in love.
However, Rachel's breakup with Peter beforehand was emotional and excruciating, seemingly for both individuals involved and all the viewers watching from home.
"Prior to seeing the show, I always thought Bryan was the guy for her once I left [filming]," explained 29-year-old Eric, whom Rachel sent home in third place after her round of overnight Fantasy Suite dates.
"Bryan, I love him. He's my guy, he's cool, but I felt bad for him. It seemed like he was a rebound, you know? I could be wrong, but that's what it looked like in my eyes. Maybe the feelings they had for each other is different from what I've seen, but man, that was tough. I was like, 'Wow!'"
Rachel's apparent issue with Peter was that his heart wasn't ready to propose and she had made it clear from the start of The Bachelorette process she didn't want to leave the show with just a boyfriend.
But Peter was so upset about the idea of losing Rachel that he agreed to make a huge "sacrifice" by popping the question in order to show his level of commitment and make her happy, but then Rachel cried at the idea of her potential fiance proposing out of pressure -- and she feared he may become resentful of her one day -- so she let him go.
Eric said Rachel "put herself in a bind" by saying "I want a proposal."
"She held herself accountable in a place where I think it was pride. Her pride wouldn't let her not do what she wanted to do, and that was, she wanted a proposal and Peter didn't want that. So if it wasn't a proposal, then you're out, which I get," Eric told Ben and Ashley on their podcast.
"Sometimes it's hard, it's really hard. She made her decision and she's off to the races, but I just think if she never would've said, 'I want a proposal,' and made that the priority, she would've been okay."
In addition to calling Bryan a "rebound" for Rachel, Eric also referred to the smooth charmer as a "consolation prize" during a separate interview on Hallmark Channel's Home & Family show.
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"From what was shown [in the finale], I think Bryan was the consolation prize. He was second place," Eric bluntly noted. "I think what Peter should've done is asked to go home earlier, weeks prior. Because it's like, why move forward [if he was never going to propose?]"
Eric said on Home & Family that had Peter quit the reality dating series earlier, the season probably would've played out in his favor. After all, Eric fell in love with Rachel and was fully prepared to propose to her had he been the last man standing.
"There's a high-percent chance that I would've been engaged [to Rachel]," Eric insisted.
"What we had was magic -- it was powerful. It was real for me. It was like, 'What's happened to my life? This is amazing.' I think if I were to move forward, it would've been that much harder for her to pick her top one."