NFL draft guru Daniel Jeremiah sees Matthew Bergeron as top Canadian prospect

Daniel Jeremiah doesn't think Canadian tackle Matthew Bergeron will have to wait long to hear his name called at this year's NFL draft.

The towering six-foot-five, 323-pound Victoriaville, Que., native tops the list of five Canadians expected to be taken in the April 27-29 draft. If all are selected, it would be the most Canadians ever after four were drafted in both 2014 and '21.

Jeremiah, the NFL Network's draft guru, could see Bergeron, who played collegiately at Syracuse, being an early second-round pick, although some mock drafts have the hulking left tackle as a late first-round selection. Bergeron took snaps at both guard and tackle at last month's Senior Bowl, but Jeremiah would keep Bergeron at tackle.

"I think he can play left tackle (in NFL)," Jeremiah said during a recent conference call. "Occasionally he's a little late off the snap so figure out what the heck that's all about. That should be able to be solved.

"I think he can play tackle, I think he can stay at tackle. I know some might say, 'OK, you kick him to guard.' I think he could do that but I didn't see anything with him that would be a reason why I'd move him."

The other Canadian prospects are twins Chase and Sydney Brown of London, Ont., (running back and defensive back, respectively, Illinois), Tavius Robinson of Guelph, Ont. (defensive lineman, Mississippi) and Sidy Sow of Bromont, Que. (offensive lineman, Eastern Michigan).

All five will participate in the NFL combine, which began Tuesday in Indianapolis.

Bergeron was a team captain last year. He allowed just four sacks and was penalized three times in 686 snaps over 11 games. Bergeron started 39 contests at Syracuse.

Jeremiah could see Bergeron fitting in nicely with the L.A. Rams, whose first pick will come in the second round, No. 36 overall. Sophomore Alaric Jackson, a native of Windsor, Ont., started six games at both tackle and guard with the Rams before being diagnosed with blood clots and going on season-ending injured reserve Nov. 16, 2022.

Jeremiah figures Sydney Brown will go next, either late in the second round or sometime in the third. The six-foot, 205-pound Brown had 59 tackles (3.5 for loss), a Big Ten-high six interceptions and a sack last season while serving as captain at Illinois.

"When I look at Sydney, to me, obviously the ball production is there," Jeremiah said. "He has great range, you’ll see him undercut routes, he's explosive.

"I think he is going to test really, really well (at combine). He is outstanding on special teams. The only tape that he struggled with was against (Iowa tight end Sam LaPorta) . . . but (Brown) had a really good Senior Bowl week."

Jeremiah expects Chase Brown to go between the third and fifth rounds. The five-foot-11, 205-pound running back had a stellar '22 season, finishing fourth in NCAA rushing with 1,643 yards, averaging five yards a carry and registering 10 100-yard games.

He also had 13 touchdowns (10 rushing, three receiving) and was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as U.S. college football's top running back. Brown captured the Jon Cornish Trophy as the top Canadian in American college football.

At the Senior Bowl, Brown was named the National team's running back practice player of the week in voting by members of the squad's linebackers group.

"He's a quick stepper, he can run through contact," Jeremiah said. "Pass pro is a little bit of an issue there, he got crushed by some linebackers in that so that's his area to improve.

"It's a really deep running back group so I think probably third round would probably be the high-water mark, but I would say ... third to fifth round, somewhere in there is where he'd end up going."

The six-foot-four, 329-pound Sow started 13 games last season at Eastern Michigan, allowing just two sacks in 949 snaps. He remains the school leader in games played (56) and started (54) and participated in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in California.

"He's huge," Jeremiah said of Sow. "He has knock-off power, he has upper torque.

"He gives up his chest a lot in pass protection, which I don’t love, but he's so dang massive and strong that he's able to absorb it. I thought he'd be a fifth-round pick. We'll see where he ends up going, how he moves around at the combine."

The six-foot-six, 265-pound Robinson recorded 44 tackles, seven sacks, five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 13 games at Ole Miss. He also participated in the Senior Bowl.

"Robinson had the production," Jeremiah said. "He's long, he's kind of fun to watch because he's in that four-point stance and just launches out of it.

"He's a little bit stiff at the top of his rush and I thought he got pinned and sealed a little too often in the run game. He's a later round guy for me, more of like a sixth-round pick. But you've got some size and you've got some production so definitely you're going to hear his name called."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2023.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press