As the 2023 NFL Draft approaches, analysts are buzzing about a talented group of offensive linemen with as many as three tackles potentially going in the first 15 picks. One player generating hype slightly later in the draft is Matthew Bergeron, a standout Canadian from Syracuse University.
Bergeron’s flexibility, explosiveness, and fluidity have caught everyone’s attention and he looks really calm moving in reverse. He’s projected as a Day 2 selection but could be a potential first-round pick when it’s all said and done.
The NFL Combine is a crucial step in that journey. For Bergeron, it’s an exciting opportunity to demonstrate his abilities and impress the league’s top talent evaluators.
“I have been preparing for this moment my whole life,” he told the media.
In addition to the physical tests, Bergeron will also participate in interviews with NFL teams. These interviews provide an opportunity for teams to get to know the player on a personal level, assess character, work ethic, and football IQ. For the native of Victoriaville, Que. this will be a chance to showcase his leadership skills and demonstrate his commitment to excellence both on and off the field.
“I have had 15 formal interviews so far with teams that include the Chiefs, Steelers, 49ers and Commanders. I got to show them my knowledge of all aspects of the game,” Bergeron said. “With me, the NFL will get a hard worker, a leader and a self-motivated person.”
Bergeron’s performance at the NFL Combine will be closely watched by NFL scouts and coaches, many of whom are already familiar with his impressive NCAA career. He started at right tackle as a true freshman coming out of Cégep de Thetford and moved to left tackle the next season, making 39 total starts in his collegiate career with the Orange.
The six-foot-five, 322-pound blocker earned an invitation to the prestigious Senior Bowl in February, competing and excelling against many of the top prospects in this year’s draft.
“It was great to represent Syracuse. I worked hard to be in this position,” Bergeron said. “I only had one offer out of high school and I want to thank Jim Nagy, who invited me to the event. Learning from different players or coaches around the country is great to up my football IQ.”
The event also cemented his belief in how he should be utilized at the next level.
“Teams have talked to me about needing to be versatile and playing different positions and I felt like I showed that at the Senior Bowl. I am able to play both guard and tackle, but I told teams I am a left tackle in this league.”
Ahead of the event, Bergeron trained with former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Joe Staley, a three-time second-team All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowler at left tackle. The future Hall of Famer has provided the young Canadian with invaluable advice.
“He’s been a great mentor and friend for me,” Bergeron said. “He was a great run blocker and I pride myself in the run game. I learned different types of leverage and different ways to run the wide zone from him.”
While he hopes to one day boast an NFL career as illustrious as Staley’s, Bergeron still holds a soft spot for the Canadian game. While he started out playing hockey and basketball, three-down football soon captured his heart and he hopes to give back north of the border throughout his career.
“My favourite team in the Canadian Football League has been the Montreal Alouettes. I am proud to be from Canada,” he said. “I feel like football back home is growing and I am excited to be a leader and want to host camps back in Canada in the future.”
Adjusting to the speed of the American college game was a challenge but through his hard work and dedication to the sport, Bergeron is poised to make an impact in the NFL.