The New York Giants hope to have their bookend offensive tackles for the foreseeable future. So they aren’t likely to be looking at offensive tackles in the 2023 NFL draft.
However, the NFL as a whole is somewhat starved for starting offensive linemen in general and offensive tackles in particular. Syracuse offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron has started 39 straight games, playing both left and right tackle, and has been one of the top offensive linemen in the ACC.
He also has a versatile frame that could allow teams to move him inside if necessary or if he isn’t able to stay at tackle. Could that give him a broad appeal to the NFL?
Prospect: Matthew Bergeron (60)
Games Watched: vs. Louisville (2022), vs. NC State (2022), vs. Clemson (2022), vs. Notre Dame (2022)
Height: 6-foot-4 7/8 inches
Weight: 323 pounds
Arm length: 33 5/8 inches
Hand size: 9 1⁄2 inches
Games played: 39 (11 in 2022)
Best: Competitive toughness, run blocking, athleticism, pass protection
Worst: Anchor, hand placement
Projection: A starting tackle or guard with scheme versatility.
(Bergeron is Syracuse LT No. 60)
Syracuse offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron has a versatile combination of size, strength, and athleticism to play on the offensive line at the NFL level.
Bergeron has a stout build at 6-foot-4 ⅞ inches, 323 pounds, with good thickness in both his upper and lower body. He carries his weight well and doesn’t seem encumbered by his size, with natural flexibility in his lower body. Bergeron is a natural knee bender who sits easily into his stance and maintains his hip and pad level throughout the rep. He routinely plays with good leverage as both a run blocker and pass protector.
Bergeron has good initial quickness out of his stance, allowing him to move quickly off of the snap and hit his landmarks. He also has quick feet when moving laterally and is able to mirror most speed rushers off the edge, redirect to counter inside moves, or deal with twists or blitzes. His foot quickness also allows him to use his footwork to absorb bull rushes from power rushers.
Bergeron uses his play strength and leverage well as a run blocker and is able to create movement along the line of scrimmage. His athleticism also allows him to execute zone blocking schemes as well as be an effective pulling lineman or blocker for screen plays. Once engaged, Bergeron does a good job of uncoiling his hips to drive def
He has great competitive toughness as a blocker and strives to sustain his blocks for as long as necessary. He plays with a “mauler mentality” and will routinely re-anchor and give second or third efforts to neutralize defenders, as well as try to finish with his defender on the ground.
While Bergeron has quick feet, he doesn’t have a particularly smooth kick-slide. That could create moments with compromised balance or a foot further off the ground than ideal – opening him up to particularly fast or powerful pass rushers.
Bergeron will also need to improve his hand usage and the consistency of his hand usage. He can allow his hands to drift wide and land outside defenders’ framework. That not only allows opponents into his chest plate, letting them control him and gain leverage on him. It can also open him up to being flagged for holding at the NFL level.
Finally, he has less than ideal length, at least compared to the NFL’s archetype. He is a bit shorter and has slightly shorter arms than some NFL teams would prefer.
Overall Grade: 7.2
Matthew Bergeron projects as a starting offensive lineman at the NFL level.
Bergeron has the frame, leverage, play strength, and athleticism to likely be able to play tackle or guard at the next level. He should be allowed to try and secure a job as an offensive tackle first, however he could be a very athletic and versatile guard if he doesn’t fit at tackle.
Bergeron does need to improve some of the technical aspects of his game, in particular getting more consistent with his hands. He has a good amount of play strength and is a tenacious blocker. However, his tendency to let his hands drift wide – at times almost clapping instead of punching – can compromise those strengths. Bergeron plays with good leverage, but can struggle to anchor against power when he allows defenders into his chest plate. Moving inside to guard could allow him to concentrate more on his hand technique and further emphasize his strengths.
Matthew Bergeron isn’t getting much buzz in this offensive line class, but his potential to be a solid starter at multiple positions should help his draft stock. Even if he has to move inside to guard at the NFL level, he could still provide depth at tackle. He could be a value find for an OL-needy on the second day of the draft.