The Pittsburgh Steelers made their final seventh round linebacker Tyler Matakevich from Temple after selecting cornerback Artie Burns from Miami in the first round, safety Sean Davis from Maryland in the second round, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave from South Carolina State in the third round, offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins from LSU in the fourth round, linebacker Travis Feeley from Washington in the sixth round and Demarcus Ayers from Houston in the seventh round.
This article provides an initial grade on that pick as we have done for each Steelers pick in this draft. We will use the same metrics as before. Keep in mind that honest grades at this point cannot be accurate for the long term, based on the fact of not being able to foretell how a player will pan out, but can measure a few key attributes:
Best Player Available: meaning that according to our official BTSC big board, constructed by our own Scott Pavelle, this player was ranked either at the top or close to the top of the remaining candidates. The closer to the top the higher the grade.
Positional Need: meaning that Pittsburgh addressed a key position needed for their depth chart. The bigger the need, the higher the grade.
NCAA Performance: this metric grades the players' reputation based on their performance in NCAA.
Combine Statistics: based on the numbers posted at this year's scouting combine.
Each metric will be measured on a 1-10 scale, ten being the highest and one being the lowest. The total of the scores will average out to a grade that allows for a normal range:
E: 5 or below.
Best Player Available: 9. The Steelers picked up an award winning linebacker from a smaller NCAA Division I program in Temple. He was a superstar for Temple, totaling double digit tackles for loss in all three of his last years and starting all four years in college. Matakevich was a fan favorite as he often seemed to be in the right place at the right time and was the person that stood out at all times for their defense. In the seventh round, that's as much as you can hope for.
Positional Need: 7. Adding to linebacker depth provides more options for players to work through camp and be kept on the practice squad and/or become a utility player on defense. Sean Spence and Terrence Garvin open up opportunities to make the special teams unit and earn their way.
NCAA Performance: 10. For a seventh round pick, Matakevich is a superstar. His stats light up as he was all over the field for Temple. He made plays in every game he played and recording five interceptions during his senior season. He's the winner of the 2015 Bronko Nagurski award which goes to the nation's most outstanding defensive player.
Combine Statistics: 6. The biggest knock on Matakevich is that his 6'0" 238 lbs. frame isn't big, his 22 reps on the bench did not make him look strong and his 4.81 forty yard dash did not make him look fast.
Overall Grade: 8. B.
Matakevich is a work horse, known as a film room junkie and a player who will out hustle opponents at the NCAA level. The biggest question is whether he will be able to outwork NFL caliber talent and earn a permanent spot in the years to come. For a seventh round pick, Pittsburgh spent a selection that should not cost them too much. Look for him to be a training camp fan favorite to make the team.