Chicago Bears hoping to find another gem from Canada?

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears are hoping to hit another home run with a Canadian product.

The Chicago Bears have already leveraged their neighbors to the north to find one stud defensive player, in Akiem Hicks. Hicks, who the Bears signed as a free agent in 2016, played in Saskatchewan, Canada for the University of Regina, before his time with the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots.

While it took him a few years to get his footing, he has become one of the most dominant defensive linemen in the NFL today.

Now, the Bears could be hoping that another standout from Canada has similar success with the team. Of course, we’re talking about Mathieu Betts out of Laval University.

Recently, we highlighted Chuck Harris, an outside linebacker and undrafted free agent (UDFA) who could be a sleeper to make the roster. Well Betts, another UDFA, was also pretty impressive during minicamp and earned the praise of Chuck Pagano, the Bears defensive coordinator.

So what do we know about Betts? Well, he stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 250 pounds. He was absolutely dominant at Laval, where he recorded 21 sacks in his first two years. His outstanding performance in college led him to be selected No. 3 overall in the 2019 Canadian Football League draft. However, Betts was too intrigued by the chance to play in the NFL and signed with the Bears as an UDFA instead.

He also was a defensive end in college, so he played almost exclusively from a three-point stance. In the NFL, with his size, he’ll be expected to make the transition to outside linebacker so it will be important to see how well he does playing upright.

Regarding his size, he is a bit undersized and maybe doesn’t possess the greatest athleticism, so his production in college should be considered with a measured approach. However, the one thing that stands out about Betts is his effort. From whistle to whistle he gives 100 percent and could benefit from being used as a situational pass rusher — particularly on stunts — which Pagano likes to employ.

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Whether that’s enough to enable Betts to stick on this roster remains to be seen. He’ll be competing against Harris, Kylie Fitts, Isaiah Irving, and Joel Iyiegbuniwe, among others. However, his incredibly high motor, work ethic and effort certainly won’t hurt. Regardless, it should be a fun competition to watch as he could become a training camp fan favorite in Bourbonnais.