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Steelers 2016 Draft Selection Breakdown: Temple Linebacker Tyler Matakevich

The Steelers used their final pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to select Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich No. 246 overall.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers finished up their 2016 NFL Draft by selecting linebacker Tyler Matakevich from Temple University.

Matakevich, a senior, is Temple's all-time leader with 493 tackles. In 2015, he won the Chuck Bednarik Award and the Bronco Nagurski Award, which is presented to the nation's top defensive player.

Some may find it odd that one of the most instinctive and hard-nosed linebackers in the country was only seven picks away from becoming an undrafted free agent, but in the modern NFL, most coaches and general managers prefer measurables and raw athleticism over production.

And that's fine with Matakevich, who is just thankful for an opportunity to show what he can do at the next level.

"Everything happens for a reason, and this is just some adversity," he said in an interview with Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I am grateful for the opportunity to hear my name called, and I will give my best to make sure they were happy that they drafted me."


40-yard dash: 4.81 seconds

Bench press: 22 reps

Vertical: 31 inches

Broad jump: 112 inches

3-cone drill: 7.19 seconds

20-yard shuttle: 4.50 seconds


20-yard shuttle: 4.34 seconds

3-cone drill: 7.22 seconds

At 6-foot, 238 pounds, with 31 ¼" arms, Matakevich lacks the desirable physical traits, but what he lacks in speed and athleticism, he makes up for with instincts and awareness. Of his 493 career tackles, 40 occurred behind the line of scrimmage.

Matakevich is constantly around the ball. Whether he's blitzing the quarterback, shooting into the backfield to make a play on the ball carrier, or breaking up and intercepting passes, he's always making plays to help his team win. His pre-snap reads allow him to get to the right space on the field to make plays against the run and in the passing game. During his senior campaign, he recorded 4.5 sacks, five pass breakups, and five interceptions, to go along with a team-high 138 tackles.

In last year's season opener against Penn State, Matakevich sacked quarterback Christian Hackenberg three times, and finished the game with seven tackles and a pass breakup in a 27-10 win. Later in the year, against No. 9-ranked Notre Dame, he tallied 13 tackles and an interception in a nail-biting 24-20 loss.

Aside from his average speed, Matakevich's biggest weakness is getting off blocks, and getting caught up in the wash near the line of scrimmage; something he'll need to work on to become a starting NFL inside linebacker.

Matakevich has the makings of a great special teams player, and if he excels in that area, he could eventually become a regular contributor on defense for the Steelers in the near future.