Round 4 (Pick 123): Tyler Matakevich – Linebacker, Temple
6-foot-1, 235 pounds
The Bengals defense needs a new, young leader, and Tyler Matakevich could be that guy. Rey Maualuga‘s time in Cincinnati will be coming to a close within the next few years, so the Bengals would be smart to draft his replacement now.
Not only is Matakevich a leader–he’s received numerous glowing reviews for his leadership on Temple’s defense–but he’s also an extremely physical player who plays faster than his combine numbers could suggest in the future.
With Vontaze Burfict and P.J. Dawson set to be two of the team’s long-term linebackers, selecting Matakevich could solidify the linebacking corps for years to come. And while Matakevich’s natural position is in the middle of the defense, he’s versatile enough to play on the outside.
Matakevich recorded 100+ tackles in four straight seasons, lead all linebackers with five interceptions in 2015, tallied 15 tackles for loss and even recorded four and a half sacks. Matakevich simply seems like a prototypical Bengals linebacker; he could fit in at many places, bring a new dynamic to the team and make an early impact on the defense.
Next: Late Rounds