The Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich in the seventh round of the NFL Draft.
After doing over 25 profiles leading up to the draft, there were only a handful of players I really wanted the Steelers to draft. Lucky for me, one of my favorite players in this entire draft was selected by the Black & Gold. With their last pick in the seventh round, the Steelers drafted Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich.
Before the team made the pick, I petitioned for them via to take the young linebacker after seeing he was still available.
Minutes later, their selection buzzed across the screen, revealing Matakevich’s name.
As for the player himself, Matakevich is a tackling machine. Over the past decade, no other player has recorded more solo tackles in a collegiate career than the Temple linebacker, an impressive 338. The next guy on the list trails Matakevich by 85 tackles. Adding assisted tackles, he totaled 493 tackles in his 4 years.
Matakevich was four-year starter for the Owls. He played on terrible teams his first 3 years including a 2 win campaign in 2013. Temple finally broke through in 2013, winning 10 games for the first time since 1979.
Thanks to the new exposure from the national media, Matakevich reaped the benefits. He was an All-American and won the Bednarik and Nagurski awards. Matakevich was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year and was first team All-AAC for the third time.
What separates Matakevich from other linebacker prospects is his ability to read and react on the fly, playing with little hesitation. He is always around the ball. There are questions with his athleticism and whether he will be able to play in the fast NFL. A decade ago, scouts say Matakevich would have been picked in the first two rounds.
Draft Grade: A
Back in February, I projected Matakevich to come off the board in Round 3 or 4 in the draft. Getting a linebacker with this much upside and passion for football is an absolute steal in the seventh round. He is could enough to steal reps at linebacker on the Steelers, maybe not this season, but if I’m Lawrence Timmons, I’m stepping my game up with this kid on the roster.
Look for Matakevich to star on special teams while he is groomed at middle linebacker.