Watch out for this WR: Troy Bergeron

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Watch out for this WR: Troy Bergeron

Postby Pudge » Sat Feb 18, 2006 4:52 pm

I'm just now beginning to hear about this guy. Here's what the folks at NFL Draft had to say about him:
Troy has a lean, athletic frame with a defined upper body, good abdominal definition, tight waist and hips and minimal body fat. He could add at least another ten pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness. He has excellent straight-line speed and crisp change of direction agility, showing explosiveness to transition and separate. He is a tough, instinctive competitor with good field vision.

Bergeron gets off the line with a sudden burst, as his track background is evident in his initial release. He is effective using his swim move and fakes to escape the defensive backs and closes the cushion quickly vs. off coverage. He is still developing strength and needs to use his hands better in attempts to beat the jam, as a physical cornerback could be successful impeding his release.

Troy shows great quickness in transition into and out of his breaks. He runs effective speed cuts and does a good job of planting and driving. He can run a variety of routes, but looks more effective on comebacks, corners and deep outs than when going across the middle. He does a good job of setting up defenders in his route, as he looks very fluid sticking and coming out of his patterns. With additional coaching, he could develop into a fine post corner receiver.

Bergeron does a good job of tracking and catching the ball near the boundaries and keeping his feet in bounds. You can see on film his ability to adjust his routes when the quarterback is forced to scramble (see 2005 Los Angeles and Arizona games). One of his better attributes is his ability to track the ball in flight, even if it is behind him. In 2004, he relied more on his speed than on moves or great technique, but in 2005, he ran routes that required more breakdown or transition. He shows a good initial thrust to separate, but until he adds more bulk, he could struggle vs. tight coverage, especially if physical defenders get their hands on him.

Because of the short field used in the Arena Football League, Troy developed a good feel for open areas. His lateral agility allows him to slip or slide into the zone's soft spot, but he can be even more effective once he learns how to push off the defender. His mobility allows him to get open underneath and he appears to have that natural feel needed to get his body between the defender and the ball. Even when his quarterbacks make him work for the ball, he knows how to accelerate and get under it.

Bergeron has natural hands to catch outside his frame. He is effective whether going low, behind or over his shoulder to make the catch. He has the speed to get under the deep passes, but because of the short field he played on, he will need time to refine his tracking ability on long routes (shows good promise, though). One good thing that he developed playing AFL ball was a competitive nature going for the ball in a crowd. He will drop a few ball going over the middle, resulting in costly fumbles, but all he needs to do is secure the ball better before trying to head up field (also needs to run with the ball in his proper hand to prevent a crunching tackle from popping the ball out).

While he was not required to run deep routes in the AFL, he can run down an overthrown pass. He has the speed to threaten the deep zone and has developed the double moves needed to get open if the cornerback is running with him. While he can elude even the quicker defenders, he will need to add more strength in order to break tackles in attempts to gain big yardage after the catch. Even with his track speed, he must develop better shiftiness so he will not be regarded simply as a straight-line runner.

As a blocker, he will make a decent effort, but he runs hot and cold here, as he does not always fit up or finish with consistency. He handled kickoff returns in the AFL with adequate distinction, showing good vision and instincts to find the crease, but must develop a better feel for using his blocks and does not really show much shake, but he can weave and make defenders miss when he executes his second gear to pressure the coverage unit.

Scouting Report

Positives…Needs to add more bulk, but has a lean, athletic physique with a defined upper body, tight waist and hips and a good bubble. Gets off the line of scrimmage with a sudden burst and uses that speed to close the cushion vs. off coverage…Weaves to leverage and set up defenders and shows quickness in transition coming in and out of his breaks…Does a good job of planting and cutting (runs a good speed cut)…Has the field awareness to come back and break off his route when the quarterback is forced to scramble…Has a very good feel for the soft spot in the short areas, slipping and sliding into the zone's vacancy…Natural hands catcher who can get to the ball, whether thrown low, behind or over his shoulders…Competes for the ball when covered and has the second gear to run down the overthrown ball.

Negatives…Lacks the strength to defeat the press coverage and can have his release impeded if he does not use his hands properly to get a push off the defender…Will need some route refinement, as he is just learning how to run routes that require much transition or breakdown…Has a good feel for the open areas, but because of his thin frame, he is not a big target…Must learn how to secure the ball properly before heading up field (fumble issues)…Also must learn how to slow down and shield the defender on deep over-the-shoulder catches…Fails to fit up and finish, running hot and cold when asked to block.

He's got size (6-2/190), speed (listed at 4.38). I was looking at several draft sites today and their positional rankings. The highest I've seen Bergeron is 7th best WR prospect. Most other sites have him listed in the 20s however, but that's probably because they haven't seen a lot of him.

Troy's story is this:

He enrolled at Auburn in 2002, but they wanted him to play S rather than WR. So he transferred to Middle Tennessee State without ever playing for Auburn. He never played at MTSU, because his girlfriend had their kid the following year, and he tried to leave there to transfer someplace closer to home. They didn't grant him his scholarship release, so he (literally) wound up working at a grocery store in his hometown. He then joined Columbus in af2 in 2004, and caught 77 passes and scored 27 TDs in 12 games. This past year he moved up to the Georgia Force (Blank's team) of the AFL, earned All-AFL and AFL Rookie of the Year, and caught 125 passes and 37 TDs in 19 games.

His connection to the Force make me believe that he is on the Falcons radar. The Falcons have already invited two Force players to camp since Blank started the franchise, including Bergeron's WR buddy Derek Lee. Nick Polk and Ray Farmer, the two chief personnel guys for the Force also work in the Falcons front office.

Although Bergeron is currently widely considered a late round prospect (like 6th or 7th), I think by draft date rolls up we may start hearing about him as a 4th or 5th round guy.

What I think makes him fit the best in Atlanta is his ability to find the soft spots downfield. With Vick's scrambling and improvisation ability, it makes his ability to get open in those situations work well. His downfield speed and size are also very good. He is not known for his blocking ability, but I'm sure Mora & Co. can inspire him to do better in that area. After all, Roddy White was considered a poor blocker as a prospect, but has only been praised in that area since he arrived here.

I see Bergeron as an option in Round 4 or 5. He could move up even higher depending on how fast his 40 is. I think that is going to get most people's attention. I don't see him on the Combine lists, so he'll have to find a way to shine elsewhere.
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Postby The_Incomparable » Sat Feb 18, 2006 8:15 pm

I would be happy with Troy in the 5th without a doubt. He could be the Az Hakim to our two young starters, which is dangerous. Finneran may get a serious starter's deal from another team anyways, so we could be seriously looking at a new WR. My only question about him is his hands, because I haven't really seen him play much.
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Postby dirtybirdnw » Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:20 am

For some reason I doubt Finneran goes to another team in the twilight of his career. His only other options for getting a championship are Seattle and Carolina in the short term. Neither team is really in need for a Finneran type player. If Finny wants a ring he'll stay in Atlanta. If he wants a payday he'll go to non-contender.

Atlanta is the only team that gave Finneran a real shot to start I gotta imagine he'll be one of those few true 'Falcons' and stay until he retires. Unless McKay decides he won't offer up a contract. Also, if I'm not mistaken I think Finneran still has a year left on his contract.
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