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 Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers

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BlackAndGold

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PostSubject: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 02, 2016 1:46 am

By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Finding linebackers always seemed so easy for the Steelers. They would wait until the middle rounds of the draft, pick off one or two and put them in storage on special teams for a while.

In a year or two, they would emerge as just another Pro Bowl candidate to fuel their ravaging 3-4 defense.

That changed over the past several years, as much of the NFL caught up with their tactics. No longer could they find those hidden gems in the middle or late rounds, they were forced to go get them right away. Thus begat Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier and Bud Dupree all in the first round since 2013.

They returned to those days of yesteryear over the weekend when they drafted two linebackers in the sixth and seventh rounds, one outside and one inside. Travis Feeney of the University of Washington and Temple’s Tyler Matakevich will get the chance that those three first-rounders never got, to play strictly on special teams and to learn and mature into their profession behind some good starters.

But first, they have to make the team.

READ MORE: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2016/05/02/Steelers-hope-Matakevich-Feeney-follow-team-s-history-with-late-round-linebackers/stories/201605020052?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Edited by SteelersYak due to posting the entire story. Please post part of the story and then the link to the full article. Thank you.
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El-Gonzo Jackson

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 02, 2016 9:52 am

Again, I love these 2 picks. One is a freak of an athlete that will play special teams until he reaches his upside. The other doesn't have much more of a ceiling to go, but his technique, skill, knowledge and tackling ability are top notch.

Seriously, if Matakevich gets to Tom Shaw's speed camp with Ike...could be the replacement for Timmons in a few years.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 02, 2016 12:37 pm

Matakevich reminds me a bit of Larry Foote. Limited athlete but reliable and solid due to having the mental aspect of the game down
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 02, 2016 5:53 pm

Ryan Shazer and Bud Dupree are special in Butler's defense, Jones was a knee jerk pick 1st round pick.

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 02, 2016 6:12 pm

@effyou515 wrote:
Ryan Shazer and Bud Dupree are special in Butler's defense, Jones was a knee jerk pick 1st round pick.

Jones seems to be average at the LB spot as a rusher, and pretty good in rush defense / coverage. I'm fine with that if Bud Dupree becomes a sack specialist.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Wed May 04, 2016 3:27 am

The more I read about Matakevich, the more I like him. It's hard not to root for him. His game tape is a lot bigger than his measure.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Wed May 04, 2016 10:28 am

Matakevich at 6-0 238 reminds me a bit of Miami's Zach Thomas at 5-11. Not the biggest of guys but that ball hawking instinct with excellent tackling skills is where its at, flat out play maker!

I'm excited to see Feeney brought in on those 3rd & long situations to cover tight ends, an area that killed us last season.

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Fri May 06, 2016 6:20 pm

Matakevich more than just a 40-time

By Mike Prisuta

Award-winning LB doesn't test well but he can play.

Tyler Matakevich has the Bednarik Award and the Nagurski Trophy on his mantle, but he doesn’t have his sister’s physical skill set.

“My sister got all the speed,” Matakevich acknowledged after his first practice with the Steelers at rookie minicamp. “She ran track in college.

“I got the other genes.”

That didn’t stop the linebacker from Temple from collecting the Charlotte Touchdown Club and the Football Writers Association of America’s hardware awarded annually to the nation’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player (the Nagurski), and the Maxwell Club’s honor reserved for college football’s Defensive Player of the Year (the Bednarik).

But at 6-foot and 238 pounds, Matakevich still didn’t quite measure up to the NFL Scouting Combine metrics recorded by inside lineacker Reggie Ragland. Ragland was drafted in the second round by Buffalo (41st overall).

The Steelers took Matakevich with their second selection of the seventh round (only seven players were drafted after Matakevich).

“I think they thought I was going to be a 5.0 guy,” Matakevich said. “Running a 4.8, that’s what I am. You can’t teach speed.”

Matakevich intends to prove he can play, anyway.

“I’m just going to use my game, my knowledge and my preparation to make up for it,” he continued. “When you look at the numbers, yeah, I’m not the fastest guy. But when you turn on the film, I’m all over the place.

“I’m not 6-2. I don’t run a 4.3, a 4.4. I just have to use what I have to be successful. I think I did that at Temple. People keep questioning, can he do it at the next level? But I’ve been questioned my whole life.”

Matakevich made 493 career tackles at Temple and in 2015 he was the only player in FBS to lead his team in tackles in every game.

In addition to collecting trophies, he became the first Temple defensive player to earn first-team Associated Press All-America honors (and the Owls’ first first-team AP All-American since Paul Palmer in 1986). Matakevich also became the first three-time captain in Temple history (along with teammate Kyle Friend).

With all of that going for him, Matakevich expected more from the draft than a phone call on the seventh round.

“You always have high expectations for yourself,” he said. “If you don’t have expectations, what’s the point?

“I went a different way but I’m more than happy to be here in Pittsburgh. I’m just blessed to be with this organization, to have unbelievable coaches that are already teaching me so much about the game.

“I just want to get better each day.”

http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Matakevich-more-than-just-a-40-time/5afca63b-766b-4943-9405-92716ff31da2

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Fri May 06, 2016 6:22 pm

the guy is a sure tackler, rarely fooled, and always in the right place. At the very least there's a home for players like that on ST
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 09, 2016 2:28 am

Steelers hoping they found something special in rookie OLB Travis Feeney

By Ray Fittipaldo / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Because the Steelers dealt away their fifth-round draft choice in the summer of 2015 to acquire cornerback Brandon Boykin from the Philadelphia Eagles, they had to wait hours between their fourth- and sixth-round picks April 30 in the NFL draft. Ninety seven players were selected in that time, but, luckily for the Steelers, none of them were named Travis Feeney.

Feeney, a linebacker from the University of Washington, tumbled down draft boards, but not the one inside the UMPC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side. When it came time to put the card in for the 220th selection, the Steelers didn’t waste much time.

“We had him graded higher than that,” general manager Kevin Colbert said. “We were just happy he was there for us. It was a long time between the fourth- and sixth-round picks. A lot of good players went. Had we had the opportunity, or the picks, we probably would have taken him higher. We were fortunate that he was there.”

With the sixth round rolling by and the draft nearing its end, Feeney grew frustrated and was beginning to think about his options as an undrafted free agent. When Mike Tomlin called Feeney to tell him the Steelers chose him, he initially thought it was a joke.

“That feels good that they really wanted me here,” Feeney said Friday after his first rookie minicamp practice with the Steelers. “I really want to be here. I’m excited for it. I’m going to show them I deserve to be here and take the opportunity and make it my home.”

Feeney might have been viewed as a tweener by the other 31 NFL teams, but the Steelers believe he’s going to fit right in at outside linebacker. At 6 feet 4 and 226 pounds, Feeney is the lightest outside linebacker the Steelers have had since Greg Lloyd, but they don’t believe his weight will be a detriment. Rather, they believe his speed will help him become a playmaker in the NFL.

Read full story: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2016/05/08/Steelers-hoping-they-found-something-special-in-rookie-outside-linebacker-Travis-Feeney/stories/201605080139
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon May 09, 2016 5:27 pm

Why the Slide?: Tyler Matakevich

By Charlie Campbell

Two years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Last year, we started the Why Slide? series, and this year, it is back. Feel free to email me requests for "Why the Slide?" and "Why Undrafted?" at draftcampbell@gmail.com. I can't promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely respond.

During the lead up to the 2016 NFL Draft, many projections had Temple linebacker Tyler Matakevich as a potential second-day pick. The senior was massively productive in college. He totaled 138 tackles with 4.5 sacks, 15 for a loss, five passes batted and five interceptions in 2015 after racking up 117 tackles with 10.5 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception and three passes broken up the year before. In 2013, Matakevich had 136 tackles as a sophomore after putting up 101 stops the year before. However, totaling almost 500 tackles in college wasn't enough as he slid all the way to the seventh round before he was drafted by the Steelers.

Sources say the reason that Matakevich slipped in the 2016 NFL Draft was because he wasn't graded as high as the public perception. Some teams said they had sixth-round grades on him. Teams felt that Matakevich (6-0, 230) lacked the speed and athleticism to translate to the NFL. On top it, he doesn't have the size and strength to make up for those flaws. Teams felt that he lacked the speed to play Will linebacker and the size to be a Sam linebacker. He also is small for a middle linebacker. Thus, the skill set is why teams graded Matakevich as a late-rounder.

After almost going undrafted, Matakevich landed with the Steelers, and that is a mixed landing spot. Pittsburgh needs to develop a backup behind aging veteran Lawrence Timmons. However, the organization has a lot of depth with veterans like Steven Johnson, Vince Williams, and L.J. Fort competing to be backups to Timmons and Ryan Shazier. The roster also has other rookie players like Travis Feeney and Tyriq McCord competing with Matakevich as well. Matakevich may end up spending time on the practice squad, but he is an overachiever, so it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up sticking around somewhere in the NFL.

http://walterfootball.com/ws2016tmatakevich.php#TAEGEYobry58Pp5Q.99

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sat May 14, 2016 2:15 am

College coach on seventh-rounder Tyler Matakevich: 'Born to Be A Steeler'

Jeremy Fowler
ESPN Staff Writer

One of the most intriguing Steelers draft picks is linebacker Tyler Matakevich, a former Bronko Nagurski Award winner out of Temple. Seventh-round picks are hardly locks to make an NFL roster, but apparently he already embodies the Steelers' culture of toughness.

Temple head coach Matt Rhule said he believes Matakevich never missed a practice or a game snap in four years. I verified this with Matakevich during rookie minicamp and he said it is indeed true.

"I just love to be on the field," Matakevich said.

Rhule said he's especially proud of Matakevich's rise because he recruited him out of Milford (CT) Academy when the player had virtually no scholarship offers.

Matakevich turned one offer into 493 collegiate tackles.

"Great kid -- Born to Be A Steeler," Rhule said in a text message. "Tough."

The Steelers have the perfect scouting report on Matakevich -- not particularly big or fast but "he's a football player," general manager Kevin Colbert said. Coach Mike Tomlin calls it "football justice" that a guy such as Matakevich gets drafted.

It's early in the offseason process -- the Steelers haven't even put on pads yet -- but the 6-foot-1, 235-pound Matakevich showed noticeable football instincts during rookie minicamp.

http://espn.go.com/blog/pittsburgh-steelers/post/_/id/18804/tyler-matakevich-born-to-be-a-steeler-college-coach-says

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Thu May 19, 2016 11:54 pm

Selection worth the wait for Feeney

By Mike Prisuta

Like many potential prospects, University of Washington linebacker Travis Feeney threw just about everything he had into preparing for the NFL Draft.

That’s what made his journey from the college ranks so stressful and his ultimate professional destination so satisfying.

“It’s a crazy process,” Feeney acknowledged.

Feeney wound up being chosen by the Steelers on the sixth round, 220th overall.

To classify his selection as a long time in coming wouldn't be doing the process justice.

READ MORE: http://www.steelers.com/news/article-1/Selection-worth-the-wait-for-Feeney/8161d9e5-1559-421d-b537-059609a943a7

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sat Aug 20, 2016 5:34 pm

Pro Football Focus ✔@PFF

Last night, #Steelers rookie Tyler Matakevich posted the single best ILB performance of the preseason so far.

19 Aug 2016

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2016/08/steelers-rookie-lb-tyler-matakevich-impresses-pff-preseason-play-eagles/

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:27 am

@Hawaii 5-0 wrote:
Pro Football Focus  ✔️@PFF

Last night, #Steelers rookie Tyler Matakevich posted the single best ILB performance of the preseason so far.

19 Aug 2016

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2016/08/steelers-rookie-lb-tyler-matakevich-impresses-pff-preseason-play-eagles/

Nice writeup and video article, but if you watch it you will see a lot of diving ankle tackles. The concern with Matakevich is if his lack of speed will allow him to get to the play in time and the fact he is making diving tackles against the 3rd stringers in the 4th quarter, shows his speed is a liability.

I hope the kid makes the team, but I honestly think he is behind Timmons, Shazier, Williams and Fort at ILB right now.

That PFF ranking highlights how advance stats can be misleading. A rookie ILB makes 5 tackles (2 of them shared with other players) in the 4th quarter against other 3rd stringers and he has "the single best ILB performance of the preseason".
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:27 pm

they can't cut dirty red.  once you give a guy a nickname you can't cut him...

Quote :
"Dirty Red" aka Tyler Matakevich: The red hair on the seventh-round pick out of Temple is unmistakable around campus. But for the Steelers coaches, "Red" simply wasn't enough. One day, Tomlin told his new linebacker he liked "Dirty Red" better.

He's been using it on the field ever since. During a recent backs-on-'backers drill, Tomlin yelled that he wanted “Rosie vs. Dirty Red,” calling fullback Roosevelt Nix to block Matakevich, who won all seven of his matchups.

"I couldn't even tell you why," said Matakevich of Tomlin's preference. "Coach Tomlin called me that one day. He can call me whatever they want."
http://www.espn.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/88974/from-dirty-red-to-cuzzo-how-mike-tomlin-finds-nicknames-for-steelers
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El-Gonzo Jackson

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sun Aug 21, 2016 12:59 pm

@Master_Of_Puppets wrote:
they can't cut dirty red.  once you give a guy a nickname you can't cut him...  

Quote :
"Dirty Red" aka Tyler Matakevich: The red hair on the seventh-round pick out of Temple is unmistakable around campus. But for the Steelers coaches, "Red" simply wasn't enough. One day, Tomlin told his new linebacker he liked "Dirty Red" better.

He's been using it on the field ever since. During a recent backs-on-'backers drill, Tomlin yelled that he wanted “Rosie vs. Dirty Red,” calling fullback Roosevelt Nix to block Matakevich, who won all seven of his matchups.

"I couldn't even tell you why," said Matakevich of Tomlin's preference. "Coach Tomlin called me that one day. He can call me whatever they want."
http://www.espn.com/blog/afcnorth/post/_/id/88974/from-dirty-red-to-cuzzo-how-mike-tomlin-finds-nicknames-for-steelers

I hope that is the rule and they find a way. The kid probably gets down and dirty and grinds out the tough plays between the tackles, kind of like Jerry Olsavsky did. If he doesn't make the 53, he might survive on the practice squad, but LJ Fort looks to be a bit quicker and faster than Matakevich, which makes sense from their pro day measurable.

L.J. Fort - 6'1" , 230Lbs, 4.67 40-yd dash, 38" vertical leap, 24 bench press reps
Dirty Red- 6'0", 238Lbs, 4.81 40-yd dash, 31" vertical leap, 22 bench press reps
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:14 pm

I've forgot to watch for Dirty Red in the preseason games... How's he looked? I'd really like to see him make the 53.
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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:16 pm

@DesertSteel wrote:
I've forgot to watch for Dirty Red in the preseason games... How's he looked? I'd really like to see him make the 53.

Gerry Dulac ‏@gerrydulac Aug 18

I know this: If the Steelers cut rookie inside LB Tyler Matakevich it will be a mistake. Kid does everything right.

https://twitter.com/gerrydulac

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon Sep 05, 2016 2:15 pm

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PostSubject: Re: Steelers hope Feeney, Matakevich continue team's history with late-round linebackers   Mon Oct 17, 2016 11:20 pm

Tyler Matakevich Fills Up Stat Sheet In Fourth-Quarter Action

BY MATTHEW MARCZI OCTOBER 17, 2016

If there is any solace for a certain sliver of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan base to be taken out of yesterday’s frustrating loss—exacerbated after the fact when we learned that Ben Roethlisberger would require surgery to repair a torn meniscus—there was, at least, a Dirty Red appearance for the Tyler Matakevich fan club to sink its teeth into.

And even though he played well less than half of the game—I believe it was 18 snaps, or somewhere in that vicinity, perhaps a bit less than that—he still led the Steelers—both teams, in fact—in tackles, racking up eight total tackles in the fourth quarter plus one play, with six of them being of the solo variety and two coming as assists. He also recorded a tackle on special teams to give him nine in total.

Now, racking up the tackle numbers doesn’t necessarily mean that you did a wonderful job, and I wouldn’t say that Matakevich did a wonderful job, though he did not play poorly, either. What it does mean, however, is that he has both a nose for the ball, consistently being around the play, as well as a motor that drives him to make plays he might not otherwise make.

Matakevich checked into the game in order to replace Vince Williams at the end of the third quarter. Williams, how of course was making his third start in a row in placed of the injured Ryan Shazier, appeared to suffer a leg injury on the punt coverage unit—the play on which Matakevich made the tackle—getting helped off the field by trainers, though the team announced that he was dealing with cramping issues.

Matakevich played all or most of the rest of the game from that point on, and made a tackle on nearly half of the plays for which he was in the game. During one stretch of the game, he made seven consecutive tackles, six of them solo, over the span of two drives, the first being the final play of the previous drive, followed by the first six plays of the next drive.

Frankly, I can’t think offhand of the last time that I had seen a player make seven consecutive tackles, although perhaps it is not so far in the past as it might sound. But, of course, if you’re making six tackles on the same drive, that obviously also means that the opposing team is moving the ball.

to read rest of article:

http://www.steelersdepot.com/2016/10/tyler-matakevich-fills-stat-sheet-fourth-quarter-action/

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