NAME: Mathieu Betts
POSITION: Edge Defender
JERSEY: No. 9
RECRUITMENT RATING: N/A
WT: 250 lbs
Burst – In obvious passing situations, anticipates the snap well to get a decent jump off the ball. In Canadian football, defensive line plays further back off the ball and makes beating tackles to the edge trickier. Not explosive and won’t threaten the edge with his first step or the speed thereafter. Appears athletically lacking in this area.
Bend – Stiff in the hips and doesn’t show the bend to work through contact at the top of the arc. Didn’t often opt for a cornering rush due to the distance from the offensive line in Canadian football. Has flashed the ability to rotate his shoulders and reduce his surface area at the apex. Little ankle flexibility to tilt soft angles to the pocket. Doubt he’s strong enough in this area for it to be a calling card.
Rush Moves – Legit rush moves from all alignments. Has a plan of attack and consistently deploys good technique to get home. Good footwork to jab step and create space, using his hands to trim the edge and give himself a better angle to the pocket. Cross-chop is well-timed and shows a sudden swim to work over top of blockers in a flash. Outstanding inside spin move, sets it up with speed up the arc and perfect footwork. Good job varying pace to get tackles to stop their feet. Doesn’t show much in the way of speed-to-power, more of a finesse rusher, yet still with violent hands.
Counters – If he gets locked up, really struggles to free himself. Works a great rush plan and won’t hesitate to work back inside of oversets. Didn’t see many examples of him needing to work a counter in order to get free.
Run Defense – Don’t think he’ll be a viable point-of-attack option in the NFL. Lacks the size and strength to hold his ground even against the level of competition he faced in college. Consistently walled-off and out-reached in the trenches and doesn’t profile as an edge-setter in the run game. Takes on base blocks with hands inside and decent pad level, just lacks the strength and length to really keep blockers off his frame and control gaps.
Thrived when he was able to fire gaps and get into the backfield clean, but fair to wonder if his traits in that area are quality enough to translate to the NFL. Makes a lot of stops in gaps away from him due to hustle. In unblocked situations, steps down fine, but shows very little technique to take on pullers and can get engulfed.
Lateral Mobility – Tight in the hips and struggles to move laterally. Has his limitations in space, but can shift gears quickly on his feet as a pass rusher, working across blocker’s face. Adjusting his angle on the move is an adventure, lost his footing a few times in one game, although the field or shoes could have contributed.
Mental Processing/Vision – Processes quickly and can adapt his plan on the move. Finds the ball quickly and doesn’t waste time getting in pursuit. Timing of his rush moves is based on quick processing and reactions to opponents’ movements.
Tackling/Finishing – No issues here that I saw on tape. Good tackler who will lay the wood if he lines up his target.
Competitive Toughness – Unbelievable motor. Chases down every single play and rarely hesitates for a second from snap-to-whistle. Aided in several tackles far down the field, even on passing plays. Considered to have top-tier intangibles and work ethic.
Athleticism/Size – Size and athleticism are major question marks. Doesn’t appear to have great length and has a stocky torso with thinner arms and legs. Combine is important, but tape displayed enough limitations that I’m concerned he’ll test below average for an NFL edge defender.
BEST TRAIT – Rush Moves
WORST TRAIT – Athleticism/Size
RED FLAGS – None
Mathieu Betts is a fun watch, dominating the Canadian level of competition with a bevy of rush moves and an elite motor. The senior defensive end had offers from Temple, Purdue and Buffalo out of high school, but chose to stay in Canada for college. His production was off the charts, but there are concerns about how his unusual frame and athleticism will translate to the next level. Currently Betts profiles as a situational pass rusher in the NFL, but he’ll need to hit important athletic thresholds to project favorably to the leap in competition. A big week in St. Pete for the Shrine Game could go a long way toward Betts securing a much-needed Combine invitation.