He entered the 2022 season as a high-upside sleeper in the 2023 NFL Draft OT class. Has Syracuse’s Matthew Bergeron done enough to rise beyond that moniker and establish himself as a legitimate target in the early rounds? Here’s a look at Bergeron’s updated scouting report as the NFL Draft approaches.
Matthew Bergeron NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: Syracuse
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’5″, 318 pounds
- Length: 33 3/4″
- Wingspan: 81 7/8″
- Hand: 9 1/2″
More and more eyes flocked to the Syracuse offense to watch Sean Tucker in recent years. But through the process, another name began to catch steam on the blocking front — Matthew Bergeron.
Now coming off his senior season, Bergeron is a second-team All-ACC honoree and team captain aiming to make the leap to the NFL stage. His 2022 campaign wasn’t without its lumps, but against a gauntlet that included three potential future first-round picks in Myles Murphy, Isaiah Foskey, and Jared Verse, Bergeron more than held his own.
Bergeron didn’t come out of nowhere at Syracuse. He may have been a bit overlooked when he joined the Orange as a top recruit from Canada — first hailing from Montreal, Quebec — but ever since he arrived at Syracuse’s campus, Bergeron’s been nothing but a fixture on the football field.
In 2019, as a true freshman, Bergeron played in 12 games, starting five at right tackle. In 2020, he started three more games at RT, before switching to the left side for the remaining eight. And in 2021, he started all 12 at LT.
Bergeron would ultimately log 39 total starts in his Syracuse career. Particularly in 2022, he was an incredibly proficient protector on the left side, logging just three penalties and five sacks allowed in 686 pass-protection reps.
Bergeron has an abundance of starting experience, proven left-right versatility, leadership value, and visible talent on tape. But looking at his composite profile, how does he stack up in the 2023 NFL Draft OT class?
Matthew Bergeron Scouting Report
After years of production, Bergeron finds himself in the thick of a polarizing 2023 NFL Draft offensive tackle group. Does the Syracuse OT have the physical potential to command early-round billing when it’s all said and done?
At 6’5″ and roughly 320 pounds, Bergeron has excellent mass and frame density, and he brings great length as well, with near-34″ arms.
Within his frame, Bergeron is an exceptional short-area athlete, who projects well to the NFL. He’s a superb lateral mover who can match rushers across the apex with quick, efficient shuffle steps. He’s explosive off the snap, getting out of his stance very quickly, and can quickly wall off defenders with his athleticism, width, and strength. He also brings great range as a moving blocker in space.
Expanding on his athleticism, Bergeron shows off impressive short-area explosion when engaging blocks in close quarters. He has enough burst to get outside the 5-technique on outside rushing plays. His short-area explosiveness, combined with his wide frame and base, allows him to match almost anyone, and his 30.5″ vertical corroborates that burst.
On top of being explosive in a one-step manner, Bergeron is also an extremely energetic mover for his size. He’s a fleet-footed athlete with absurd corrective twitch for his size. Beyond his burst and agility, he displays excellent recovery athleticism when swerving to close off stunting defenders.
Not only is Bergeron exceedingly athletic, but he also brings great functional power and strength. The Syracuse OT generates impressive upper body torque when latched. With that torque, he throws defenders into the dirt. Beyond that, his hands are heavy and have exceptional knock-back power.
A prime part of Bergeron’s efficient power exertion is his mechanical prowess. The Syracuse OT gets great rotation on his extensions and brings power up through his base with his hips. Bergeron drives defenders upfield with his powerful base and leg drive.
Along with his strength, Bergeron brings the grip strength to gather and neutralize power rushes. With his core strength, he assumes control in anchor struggles and redirects defenders out of plays. On the move, The Syracuse OT latches and maintains anchors. Using his anchor and leg drive, Bergeron plows defenders off the line and paves open running lanes. He also flips his hips to adjust angles.
For his size, Bergeron has solid knee bend, which he uses to maintain proper leverage when matching rushers. He’s also fairly fluid in his hips. Bergeron quickly adjusts alignments and flips around without much delay. Moreover, Bergeron can flip his hips after getting outside the 5-technique and latching to seal off reach blocks. His combination of athleticism, power, strength, and fluidity grants him immense potential.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
Operationally, there are points of appeal for Bergeron. He keeps his hands loaded on the drop-back, maximizing potential energy. The Syracuse OT waits until the defender is in his wheelhouse to extend and punch, and he has a decent sense of timing. When he extends, Bergeron extends fully to unleash full knock-back power. He can stab a long arm into his opponent’s torso to shock defenders and delay rushes.
While Bergeron keeps his hands loaded, his hands are rarely too low. They often remain loaded at chest level, in ready position to strike. With this stance, Bergeron targets individual extensions and uses independent hands. He also drags adjacent rushers with single extensions, showing patience and discipline when surveying the field.
Bergeron has excellent reaction quickness when defenders make their moves, and he flashes the ability to use independent punches in rapid succession to gather rushers. Moreover, he uses a strong inside hand to lock rushers out once they commit to an angle.
In a similar vein, Bergeron actively times extensions at the apex to seal off rushers. He can use his length to get a lever on defenders. Upon reaching that point, he can punch inside the torso and latch, stalling opposing momentum.
For his size, Bergeron has very fast feet and can quickly reset his positioning on reps. He also tempos his footwork and controls his throttle to match rushers. The Syracuse OT maintains patience with looping defenders and responds very well to stunts.
Bergeron’s eyes are constantly active and alert. When he’s engaged, he focuses on his opponent’s hips. At the same time, he rarely gets tunnel vision and has an awareness of delayed blitzers more often than not. Furthermore, Bergeron can pass off defenders and reset his alignment to take on new opponents. He knows how to use his length to obstruct lanes and delay free rushers.
Finally, Bergeron is a patient blocker who brings excellent targeted aggression. In both the run and the pass, Bergeron has mauler moments on tape. He doesn’t hesitate to finish opponents in the dirt if they give up leverage and always blocks to the whistle.
Bergeron’s Areas for Improvement
Bergeron has an excellent physical foundation at his disposal. It’s very hard to poke holes when a prospect has high-level athleticism, power, strength, and length. Physically, Bergeron checks all the boxes and will present NFL coaches with a moldable ball of clay. But beyond his talent and disposition, there are some imperfections in his overall game.
While he has an athletic, compact frame, Bergeron’s low-cut build gives him a longer torso, which can make it easy for him to play too upright. It’s sometimes difficult for him to lower his pad level off the snap. To that end, he could do a better job maintaining balance and controlling weight transfers. Bergeron doesn’t have great balance at contact in space, which can prevent him from sustaining blocks.
Going further, Bergeron sometimes gets tugged backward over his center of gravity while in phase. This can allow rushers to gain leverage and take control of reps.
With his inconsistency in maintaining leverage, Bergeron sometimes places his hands a bit too high on extensions and punches. When he loses leverage, he can be a bit too grabby and bear hug frames, drawing holding penalties as a result. Independent hand usage remains an area where Bergeron could be more consistent.
Bergeron’s upper-lower synergy could also improve, as he sometimes punches before his base is stable. Occasionally, his hands can be too wide, exposing his torso to power and impeding clean placement. Bergeron could also stand to get more depth on his kick. He sometimes has inefficient footwork off the snap. He could also better leverage his set angle to minimize the rusher’s options. Setting too far vertically can open the inside.
Bergeron’s high-energy movement is an extremely appealing trait to build off of, but his footwork is uncontrolled at times as a result. His frenetic nature coming out of his kick can cause him to drift out of position or lose the proper alignment, allowing rushers to take advantage with power. That lack of control also shows up blocking in space, where Bergeron frequently loses balance after tracking linebackers.
Among other things, Bergeron isn’t quite as fluid flipping his hips in space. He could improve some on his blocking angles in the open field, and he’s occasionally late to react to delayed blitzers.
Current Draft Projection for Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron
Bergeron grades out as a top-64 prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft on my board, and he’s close to being a top-five prospect at his position.
It stands to reason that Bergeron is worth consideration in the early-to-mid Day 2 range. And looking at both his testing numbers — his Senior Bowl performance and cosmetic factors — a surprise Round 1 selection isn’t out of the question.
There are a few factors keeping Bergeron from entering the highest echelon, even with his elite physical talent. Bergeron can still seek more refinement with his hands, as well as become more controlled with his footwork and leverage management in space. He also has room to get a bit stronger when anchored, which an NFL training regimen will help with.
All this being said, Bergeron is a tantalizing talent at OT, with an impressive mix of high-floor and high-ceiling traits. Few blockers around 320 pounds, with near-34″ arms, carry their weight as well as Bergeron does. He’s an elite athlete with superb explosiveness, fleet-footed energy, fluid hips, and superb recovery capacity and smoothness as a lateral mover.
Bergeron’s physical potential alone will draw evaluators to him, but he’s also a four-year starter and 2022 team captain, with experience at both left and right tackle. He has a functional floor when it comes to hand usage and footwork, and he’s also an extremely alert blocker with gnawing physicality and good knee bend for his size.
If draft evaluation is projecting what players can be, then Bergeron has one of the most exciting ceilings in the 2023 NFL Draft. His all-encompassing skill set offers scheme and alignment versatility. At his peak, Bergeron can be an impact NFL starter, with the flexibility to play both tackle spots or slide inside to guard.
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