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Syracuse football: OT Matthew Bergeron selected by Atlanta Falcons in 2nd Round

The first member of the Orange is off the NFL draft board.

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NCAA Football: Syracuse at Boston College Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in a decade, a member of the Syracuse Orange football team was drafted in at least the second round of the NFL Draft. Offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron heard his name called with the 38th pick and will be taking his talents to the Atlanta Falcons, who traded up with the Indianapolis Colts to acquire the selection.

Bergeron, a two-time All-ACC selection who started 39 total games in his four-year career with the Orange, becomes Syracuse men’s football’s highest draft selection since tackle Justin Pugh - who was drafted 19th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.

The 6-foot-5, 320 lb. senior served as a critical part of Syracuse’s offensive line, which helped muster in running back Sean Tucker’s out of this world 2021 season and quarterback Garrett Schrader’s improvement this year as a pocket passer. Now, he’ll be tasked with leading the way for fellow rookie Bijan Robinson and Atlanta’s run-heavy offensive scheme.

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bergeron surged his way up the draft boards in recent months, earning some buzz as a mid-to-late second round pick with upside for the first. In The Athletic’s final mock draft, which was posted on the same day as the 2023 NFL Draft, Bergeron was projected as high as the 27th pick.


According to, he categorizes in the “will eventually be plus starter” camp, and that’s exactly what Bergeron can bring to the table for insert team here. For his size and weight, his athleticism is off the charts with his lateral movement on the line and body control. Especially in run-heavy sets, he excels as a lead blocker, creating more open space for the running back to shoot up the middle for a big gain.

The other thing Bergeron brings to the table is his starting experience, both in terms of number of games played/started, but also because he started off as a right tackle before switching over to left tackle during the middle of the 2020 season.


There are very few for Quebec’s finest, but one case to be made is the wear-and-tear he received in college could start to catch up with him. Bergeron missed SU’s trip to Wake Forest near the end of last season - his first career absence due to injury.

His experience will be limited, even with the competition he faced against opposing defensive linebackers in the ACC. He’ll need some reps to get used to NFL-style linemen, especially against the freak athletes who can burst off the line in a step or two.

How did we do with our TNIAAM Draft Prediction?:

Kevin: Bergeron appears to be in the 2nd round range and as much as Andy wants him in Pittsburgh, let’s put him in Kansas City at pick 63 where he starts at right tackle protecting Patrick Mahomes. Yes, it’s lower than his projection, but I’m going by selfish desire to see the Orange alums in ideal spots.

Mike: I also want Bergeron in the Black and Gold but unless Pittsburgh splurges for him at 32, I doubt he falls far enough in the 2nd round for that to happen. With how much attention he caught at SU’s Pro Day and elsewhere, I’m going to call his latest projections a smokescreen as the Jets take him with pick 43 to help protect their new HOF Quarterback.

Dom: Assuming Bergeron stays a mid-to-late second round pick, there are a handful of teams (Miami at 51, the LA Chargers at 54, Jacksonville at 56, and the NY Giants at 57) who all possess a young franchise(ish) quarterback. Half the battle is getting some legitimate security in the pocket for that cornerstone, which is why I would love to see him at any of those destinations. But my dark-horse here is Detroit, who own picks 48 and 55. I love what the Lions are building under Dan Campbell.

With all that said, Bergeron officially becomes SU’s first player taken in this year’s draft, and he couldn’t be a more deserving selection. Best of luck in Atlanta, Matthew.