NFL Draft: Falcons confirm Matthew Bergeron will change position
Throughout the process leading up to the draft, several analysts mentioned a possible transition from the position of tackle to guard for Matthew Bergeron in the NFL. The Atlanta Falcons, who drafted him 38th overall, have confirmed that is their plan.
During their press conference broadcast on the team's website at the end of the second day of the auction, head coach Arthur Smith and general manager Terry Fontenot revealed their plans without wasting time playing the hiding place.
“Matt played as a blocker in Syracuse, but we will start him inside. That's the vision we have for him with the depth we have on the offensive line,” Smith explained.
In other words, as a blocker, Bergeron played on the left end of the offensive line. Among the professionals, as a guard, he will be called upon to play from the inside, between the center and the blocker.
During his four seasons university career at Syracuse, the Victoriavillois stood out for several reasons, but mainly for his brute strength, a major asset in guards in the ground game.
“We want to bring him in the right way and he has a lot of power in his game. We saw that in the Senior Bowl. We are very excited to have him with us,” continued Bergeron's new head coach.
Compared to Saffold
Smith, when pushed to go further in his reasoning, drew a parallel between Bergeron and another player he managed, veteran Rodger Saffold.
“I hate making comparisons, but in his case I'm going to do it by comparing him to Rodger Saffold. He was drafted to be a blocker (by the Rams) and at the end of his career he was a very good guard. I'm not saying Matt is Rodger, but they have the same kind of size and power,” argued the third-year pilot.
The latter does not say he is at all worried about the abilities de Bergeron to adapt to change and does not rule out, in the longer term, a return to his natural position as blocker.
“You can see he can change positions in the way he is built and Matt is very bright. In a season, there are injuries and the goal is not to play musical chairs with our young players, but it does help to have this flexibility on the offensive line. That's added value.”
A starting spot?
Matthew Bergeron played as a left tackle throughout his four season stint with the Syracuse University. PHOTO PROVIDED BY COLLEGE PRESSBOX
Currently, the two starting tackles for the Falcons are veteran Jake Matthews, who has been in the job since 2014, and young Kaleb McGary, who has just signed a rich contract extension. Right guard is Chris Lindstrom, who also signed a new five-year pact in March.
So it's logical to believe that Bergeron will fight for the starting left guard position, with Matt Hennessy , a 2020 third-round pick.
In pre-draft interviews, Bergeron repeatedly said he preferred the blocker position, but was open to change and his only desire was to help his future team win.
A necessary trade
To make sure they got their hands on the Quebecer at the start of the second round, the Falcons had to make a trade with the Colts, just to climb from 44th to 38th.
To do so, they sacrificed their fourth-round pick, the 110th overall. It's a sign that they cared about Bergeron, rather than waiting for him in 44th place and risking losing him to another team.
“In this organization, we always talk about passion and conviction. When you really like a player, you have to go get him. We felt good about him, so we just said: let’s go! We're going to get him,” summed up general manager Terry Fontenot, who is also entering his third year with the Falcons.
“We are very satisfied with the outcome. We put a lot of emphasis on the line of scrimmage and we know that is where games are won,” he continued.