Tyler Matakevich   LB   Temple

Tyler is a “coach on the field” style of linebacker who plays faster than he will be timed because of his football intelligence and instincts. He shows on film an excellent burst to the play with the 10-yard quickness that all good linebackers need to have to be successful. He can cover in zone coverage because of his intelligence and, in single coverage, will make the head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackle that stymies a player from gaining the extra yardage needed to make first downs. Tyler will direct your defense from any linebacker position, but he seems to be an excellent fit as an inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He understands angles and will attack the line of scrimmage and shed blocks of bigger players with surprising ease in spite of his size. Tyler is the type of player who will be a core player for your defense and the type of player that, when he is off the field, your defense will just not be as effective as it should be and will be when he is on the field.

You will hear excuse after excuse of why Tyler might not make it in the NFL -- he’s too small, he’s not fast enough, he runs around blocks and doesn’t shed them quickly enough, he is not able to be used on passing downs or is not a three down linebacker. All of this is true and all of this matters draft-wise, but does not apply to Tyler when he plays.

You have to have players like Tyler to be the type of defensive team you want to be. Yes, he is too small. Yes, he is not fast enough and yes, he will struggle if used in single coverage down the field. To all of that I say don’t be dumb and instead, think “That’s what playing football is all about!” For the love of God, just draft him and coach him! It is true that not every player is the perfect size or has the perfect speed. But know this too -- not every player can play the game like Tyler can. Not every player has his football intelligence and instincts. Not every player can get their teammates in the right defense and spacing to make the players around him better. And not every player knows HOW to play the game. That’s what you’re drafting when you’re selecting Tyler. Let me put it this way: Tyler Matakevich is just an excellent football player, limitations included. That’s what the draft is all about -- not selecting the perfect athlete who might be an excellent player, but selecting players who ARE and WILL BE terrific football players.

Drew Boylhart  JAN.2016