The calendar has now flipped over to July and that means the Pittsburgh Steelers annual training camp will be getting underway in Latrobe later this month. As usual, we have several series planned to get you ready for this year’s training camp and mine will center around preview profiles of 50 players over the course of the next 25 days. Most of these profiles will be on players who were under contract with the team in 2016.
Up thirty-sixth in this series is a 2017 preview profile of inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich.
Intro: Matakevich, one of the Steelers two seventh-round draft picks in 2016, had a productive rookie season, all things considered. The inside linebacker out of Temple dressed for every game last season for the Steelers with most of his playing time coming on special teams. The former college tackling machine recorded 20 regular season tackles during his rookie season with 12 coming while covering either kickoffs or punts and that led the team.
Current Strengths: Due to him playing less than 20 defensive snaps last season, Matakevich obviously doesn’t have much tape to go on. He did, however, show to be reliable tackler when on the field defensively and as a special teams contributor. Matakevich plays best coming downhill as an inside linebacker and especially against the run. He is a very aggressive player who possess a team-first mentality. He can effectively cover ground on the inside moving east and west and strings out runs well
Current Weaknesses: Matakevich is not the most athletic specimen when it comes to his ability to change direction and thus he’s a liability in pass coverage. He can easily be ran away from both in man and zone coverages. He doesn’t “plaster” very well. Minor overall balance issues. Unknown how well of a blitzer he is but probably not someone you ever want to line off the edge, limiting scheme and blitz concepts.
2017 Outlook: Matakevich is a shoe-in to make the Steelers 53-man roster once again in 2017 if for no other reason because he’s such a good special teams player. He’ll also serve as a backup inside linebacker in 2017 and thus unlikely to see much playing time barring injuries ahead of him on the depth chart.
2017 Base Salary: $540,000
2017 Salary Cap Charge: $555,763
2017 Health Status: No known ailments exiting offseason program
2016 Health Status: Zero games missed last season due to injury
2016 Regular Season Snaps Played: 19 of 1,046
2016 Stat That Matters: Led team in total special teams tackles with 12