Get drafted. That’s the ultimate goal for any prospect looking to crack the NFL. A moment that, no matter where your career path takes you, can never be taken away.
That’s why Tyler Matakevich is excited to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. Even if he wasn’t really expecting it.
“It caught me off guard, and then I saw on the TV that Pittsburgh was picking next,” Matakevich told Marc Narducci of Philly.com.
But like any player picked in the final stages of the draft, the seventh rounder is just happy to have a team to call his.
“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.”
Interestingly, Matakevich said he wasn’t sure if the team was going to play him at inside or outside linebacker, though it feels almost certain he will play exclusively inside. He’ll be competing to be the 5th inside linebacker on the roster. As we outlined with Anthony Chickillo the other day, there are several players competing for the final two spots at the position. The winners will likely have to standout on special teams but Matakevich’s effort and ability to tackle are a great place to start in order to succeed there.
College production does not mean a transition to NFL stardom but it’s hard to find more impressive resumes than his 481 career tackles, at least 100 in every season, including his freshman year. Last year, he won the Nagurski and Bednarik Awards for top linebacker and overall defensive player.
Competing with Matakevich include Jordan Zumwalt, a similar type player who has landed on IR each of his two seasons, and L.J. Fort, who earned a cup of coffee on special teams last season after spending most of the year on the Steelers’ practice squad.