Now that the 2019 NFL Draft is underway, and the roster heading into the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we head toward training camp.
Player: ILB Tyler Matakevich
Stock Value: Up
I’m pretty sure I can comfortably say before I even start writing this that I’m going to be accused of clickbait. The notion that four-year special teams inside linebacker Tyler Matakevich could have seen his stock go up this offseason is a travesty of reasoning and a clear attempt to drum up views. Because it surely couldn’t be anything else.
In truth, though, my primary argument for the offseason-long evaluation of Matakevich’s stock being up has nothing to do with Mark Barron or Devin Bush. It’s about the players that they lost from last season. He was already playing behind L.J. Fort and Jon Bostic. They’re no longer here.
Fort did him a favor by signing with the Philadelphia Eagles. He more than anybody would have put the former Temple standout on the hotspot. Both of them were special teams aces, so if it came down to one, they may have favored the one that could play on defense.
After the Steelers drafted Bush, and then Ulysees Gilbert III, in the 2019 NFL Draft, they decided to release Bostic. Bostic was the primary starter in 2018, but he also played on special teams, so the team could have decided to keep him around because of those two reasons combined. They didn’t, deciding that what they have now is a better use of their roster and salary cap resources.
Even with the addition of two new major acquisitions, it’s hard to argue, in my opinion, that Matakevich has much to worry about as far as his roster spot goes. The fact that he has been a standout special teams player for three years now will have always been an arrow in his quiver, but I don’t think Gilbert is enough to shake him off the roster.
It’s more likely that the team decides to keep both Matakevich and Gilbert than that they choose the latter over the former. Gilbert fits the profile of what they’re looking for on defense more, but they are already trying to figure out how to play three linebackers. The Akron product will still win or lose a roster spot based on what Danny Smith thinks of him.
And that’s why Matakevich’s stock is up, not because he intercepted three passes in the spring and was said to have been active in making plays, though that didn’t hurt his cause either, to be sure.