This news is a little late but I wanted to circle back to it for the sheer intrigue of the story. Back on March 11th, the Pittsburgh Steelers sent scouts to Quebec City to check out a pair of prospects, both linemen, for their Pro Day workout.
They were there to look at defensive linemen Mathieu Betts and offensive linemen Samuel Thomassin, both men who play for Laval University in Canada.
As noted in this story from 3DownNation, it’s especially worth talking about because the Steelers were one of only five teams represented. That would suggest some level of compelling interest to make a special trip. Pittsburgh sent area scout Dave Pettet as their representative. In addition to them, the New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, and San Francisco 49ers also sent personnel.
According to the article, Betts is the top name to watch. Owning 35.5 career sacks, he was invited to the East/West Shrine Game where he spoke to “half the NFL teams.” Presumably, the Steelers were one of them. Standing in at 6’2, 254, he ran a 4.70 40, very impressive 6.77 three cone, but struggled with a 29.5 inch vertical.
Draft Scout has Betts ranked as the 55th best defensive end which puts him on the borderline for a signing/tryout invite. However, other scouting services have Betts as a possible late round pick.
Thomassin’s numbers were less impressive, even for his big 6’5, 334 pound frame. He turned in a 5.7 40, 7’8″ broad jump, 23.5 inch vert, and 18 reps on the bench press. He will likely have to hope for a tryout in rookie minicamp.
Investing in Canadian players isn’t anything new to Pittsburgh. They signed Shawn Lemon in 2015, though he quickly flamed out and barely made it to training camp. This year, they signed wide receiver/returner Diontae Spencer, who spent this past year playing for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.