ESPN analyst Todd McShay is one of the most respected NFL draft experts in the business and believes Canadian defensive lineman Mathieu Betts should hear his named called in Nashville on Saturday.
“I went back and watched the East-West Shrine tape, and he had a really good week. Betts, to me, I think he’s going to be a late-round pick, when it’s all said and done,” McShay told PostMedia’s John Kryk.
The NFL draft begins on Thursday night with the first round, two and three go Friday and four to seven Saturday. Betts impressed scouts at the East-West Shrine Game in January – half of the NFL teams met with the Montreal native in Tampa Bay.
“He handled good competition. It’s so important in those all-star games for small-school players, and players from Canada, to come in and get the opportunity and show that they can play against high-quality talent,” McShay said.
“I think he performed well enough where a team will look at him and say, ‘You know what? He’s worth a late-round pick, and at worst a priority free agent.’”
Scouts from three NFL teams – including the New Orleans Saints – travelled to Laval University to see Betts play live last season. Five NFL teams – the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers – made the trip to campus for the Rouge et Or pro day where Betts was the main attraction.
Betts checked in at fix-foot-two-and-a-half, 254 pounds recorded a 4.70 40-yard dash, 4.28 shuttle, 6.77 three-cone, nine-foot, nine-inch broad jump, 29.5-inch vertical and 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press. Compared to prospects at the NFL combine, Betts’ 40 would’ve ranked fourth, shuttle fourth, three-cone first and broad jump sixth, the rest of the test results outside the top 15.
Betts is the first player to win the USports J.P. Metras Trophy as the outstanding down lineman three straight years while becoming the only athlete ever to win four major USports awards during his career (who was also named 2015 rookie of the year). He led USports with nine sacks and 14 tackles for loss in just six games during the 2018 season, capping the senior campaign with a Vanier Cup championship. Betts holds the Quebec University conference record with 35.5 sacks in four seasons.
Betts has climbed NFL draft boards throughout the draft process and the real answer of where his pro career is set to begin in the near future.