Matt Feiler is the model of an NFL success story. No, he wasn’t a hotshot first round pick. Nor did he came from a big school, a throng of scouts attending his Pro Day. He was an undrafted free agent from Division II Bloomsburg, a school you only know if you’re a die hard PSAC fan (go Golden Eagles!).
But today, in Pittsburgh at least, he’s a well-known name. Feiler stepped in to the vacant right tackle spot left by Marcus Gilbert’s mysterious knee injury last year, logging 10 starts and playing well. His role in 2019 is unclear but his roster spot is secured. That’s a source of comfort Feiler’s never felt before at the NFL level.
“It’s nice to see the hard work pay off,” Feiler told the Trib’s Chris Adamski.
Even if he’s a backup heading into this year, he’ll be a versatile piece along the o-line and one of its top backups. In training camp, Feiler logged time at four of the five spots – everything sans left tackle – even getting reps as an emergency center than thankfully, never had to be tested in the regular season.
He’s regarded as the strongest offensive linemen on the team and it shows on tape. Although he allowed four sacks in 2018, second only to Alejandro Villanueva (who started the entire season), watch the film and you’ll see a competent tackle who benefited from Mike Munchak’s elite coaching.
Speaking to Adamski, Feiler admitted he doesn’t know what his role will be this upcoming year. If the Steelers release Gilbert, which doesn’t seem likely but still possible, he’ll battle Chukwuma Okorafor for the right tackle gig. Should Gilbert remain, Feiler will be a top backup. But like Chris Hubbard before, he turned a backup role into a big-money contract. It’s possible Feiler takes the same path in a couple years, especially if Gilbert never shakes his injury woes.