The Denver Broncos have made it clear that the offensive line is a priority.
In the first wave of NFL free agency, they backed that up with the moves to sign one of the best guards and tackles in the league.
Now comes the next opportunity to improve the offensive line and that’s the NFL Draft ... even without a pick in the first two rounds. And one of the possible targets, whether in the third round or later, is Syracuse tackle Matthew Bergeron.
Matthew Bergeron — Tackle —Syracuse
Height: 6’5” Weight: 318 lbs.
Bench Press: N/A | Arm Length: 33 3/4” | Hands: 9 1/2”
40 Yard Dash: N/A | 3 Cone Drill: N/A | 20 Yard Shuttle: N/A
A native of Montreal, Bergeron started at right tackle for the Orange as a freshman in 2019. In 2020, Bergegon shifted to left tackle where he’s played ever since. So he has experience playing both tackle positions.
Bergeon also participated in the Senior Bowl, where he worked out at both guard and tackle.
That flexibility is one of the reasons the Broncos may take a look at Bergeon with one of their picks.
Matthew Bergeron highlights
What stands out with Bergeron is his desire to dominate his opponent, especially in the run game. He has good size and mobility that make him an intriguing prospect. The problem is he isn’t the best in pass protection. And given the issues on that front in 2022, that might be a reason Denver goes a different route.
The consensus when it comes to Bergeron's game is he’s experienced, versatile and great in the running game.
He plays with the mindset that he won’t be beaten and he’ll control the line of scrimmage. Not only that, he consistently gets to the next level in the running game. His Draft profile states, “He’s just as capable of climbing and tagging second-level linebackers as he is at opening run lanes at the point of attack with leg drive.”
Bergeron has the potential to be a Pro Bowl-caliber run blocker.
Some pundits also point out his skillset might be better used at guard than tackle.
Strengths (from Lance Zeirelin and the Draft Network):
- Experience and versatility
- Movement skills and range
- Shows a desire to impose his will on the man across from him
- Run-blocking technique is top-notch across the board
- Stays connected to rushers with quality hand latch
When it comes to Bergeron, it’s about pass protection. And lack thereof.
Draft pundits agree that Bergeon is too unreliable in protecting the quarterback to go as high he probably could in the Draft. From his hand placement to inconsistent footwork, his success in run blocking may not be enough to overcome those deficiencies.
As one NFL scout said the NFL website, “The league has moved to pass protection as the top priority, and he’s just really inconsistent in that area. I love his run blocking, but you have to be able to keep your quarterback clean.”
- Modest length and functional strength
- Hand placement in pass protection
- Inconsistent footwork getting into pass sets
- Gives far too much ground to bull rushers
- Punch can swing wide, opening his chest
Bergeron’s fit with the Broncos
Given Bergeron’s dominance in the run game, that maybe enough for George Paton and Sean Payton to take a chance on him. Add that in with his experience and versatility, and Bergeron wants to be coached up.
Payton could shift Bergeron inside to guard and see if that move limits exposure in the pass game. The problem is his pass protection, and that’s one of the most crucial factors for the Broncos offensive line.
If the franchise feels that can be coached into him and improved, Bergeron could see his name called by the Broncos. But based on that, Paton, Payton and Denver may go in a different direction.