Tyler Matakevich, LB
School: Temple | Conference: AAC
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height/Weight: 6-0 / 233 lbs.
Projected Draft Round: 3rd - 4th
NFL Comparison: Chris Borland
Tyler Matakevich will not wow you with his size, 40 yard dash, vertical jump, or short shuttle time. What he will impress you with is his ability to play the game of football pretty damn well. An unheralded prospect out of high school, Matakevich started at linebacker for the Temple Owls as a true freshman and recorded 101 tackles, the youngest player to attain that feat in school history. He followed that up with three more 100+ tackle seasons, becoming only the 7th player in FBS history to achieve four straight 100+ tackle seasons. As a senior, he won the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the nation's most outstanding college linebacker, won AAC Defensive Player of the Year, led the nation in interceptions by a linebacker with 5, and set career highs in tackles-for-loss and sacks with 15.5 and 4.5, respectively. Yeah, I think he can play football alright.
Matakevich credits his success on the field in spite of his athletic limitations to hard work and dedication. "I now better understand the prep that you need on Saturdays, it takes so much time," he said in an interview with NFLDraftScout.com. "Most don't see all the work, just the results. They don't see the work during the week, the practice, the time in the film room. The hard work is the biggest thing I've learned." Another aspect of the Matakevich package is his leadership by example. "Mat is the heart and soul of that defense, everything goes through him," an NFC North executive said. "That's something that shows up on film and during practice. He knows his physical limitations, but works like the devil to max out all of his senses. You don't have as much production as he has just by accident."
- Instinctual player with a nose for the football; is able to put himself in the right place at the right time to make a play
- Good tackler, wraps up and takes down the ballcarrier, and is able to disengage from blocks to disrupt running lanes
- Underrated blitzer, using timing and anticipation to shoot gaps and cause havoc in the backfield
- Shows awareness in zone coverage to float in space and break up passes
- Leader of one of the nation's top defenses in 2015, hard worker in both the film room and weight room to prepare for game day
- Athletically limited, will not test well at the Combine and will be exposed by higher-caliber talent in the NFL
- Overpursuit causes him to bit on play-action and abandon running lanes at times, leading to voids in coverage
Tyler Matakevich finishes with eight tackles (four solo) to lead all players at the Reese's Senior Bowl— The Sports Desk (@TU_SportsDesk) January 30, 2016
Temple LB Tyler Matakevich reminds me of former Dolphin LB Zach Thomas. Always around the ball, making a tackle.— NFL Draft Insider (@NFLDraftInsider) January 30, 2016
Tyler Matakevich just makes play after play. Gotta forget some of the measurables on him.— Mike Loyko (@NEPD_Loyko) January 30, 2016
Tyler Matakevich forces runner back inside, finishes tackle https://t.co/fAwrvNSehD— IDthe22 (@idthe22) January 30, 2016
LB Tyler Matakevich and Scooby Wright III are the type of LB's that just find the ball. 3rd round players that will produce at a high level— NFL Draft Board (@NFL_Draft_Board) January 30, 2016
My first draft man crush is Temple LB Tyler Matakevich. Undersized but great anticipation, hand use and undisputed leader of their defense— The Draft Guy (@TheDraftGuruGuy) January 4, 2016
His Fit on the Redskins
Matakevich is one of my favorite players in this year's draft. His measurables are/will be sub-par by today's NFL standards, by which I mean he's a couple inches too short and about 20 pounds too light to be considered having a prototypical linebacker's build, and he won't run a 4.6 40 yard dash. But in spite of that, the dude just makes play after play on the football field. His work ethic and football IQ will help him overcome a lot of his physical limitations in the NFL. Matakevich, or "the Ginger Nightmare" as he is sometimes called (by just me, right now) fits the Redskins' new mold of player: yes, he's not the biggest, strongest, prettiest, or fastest, but he's "a football player" that will put the team in front of themselves.
If Matakevich is taken by the Redskins, he would play inside linebacker and fight for a starting role against Compton, Foster, Robinson, Riley, and potentially Spaight. Even if he didn't win one of the two starting jobs outright, which I believe he could, he could immediately serve on special teams and be key rotational depth.