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Davis: 'You have to stay tough'

Posted Mar 2, 2017

Sean Davis and Tyler Matakevich recall their Combine experience.

A year ago the Steelers’ 2016 rookies were going through the same thing college players are experiencing now, the rigors and challenges of the NFL Scouting Combine.

While it might be the greatest opportunity for college players, the opportunity to perform and prove themselves in front of all 32 teams’ head coaches and general managers, it’s also a challenge.

So while 300 plus college players are performing at the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium, several of last year’s rookies are happy all they have to do is turn on their televisions and watch it if they want.

Several of the team’s 2016 rookies took time to share their take on what the NFL Combine was like for them.

  • Sean Davis, the Steelers’ No. 2 pick out of Maryland last year, smiled when he talked about the best thing about the Combine for him.

    “The food was decent,” laughed Davis. “That was the highlight.”

    But that was about where the good stopped. Sure, he was happy to have the opportunity to be there, don’t get him wrong. But it wasn’t a ‘fun’ experience.

    “It was terrible,” said Davis. “It was long. It was really long. It was a lot. But, you have to stay tough and remember why you are there.”

    Davis understood it was a job interview of sorts, and he had to be at his best. He didn’t have to like it, but he had to stand out and perform at his best. 

    “There is a lot of pressure, especially for guys trying to make a name for themselves,” said Davis. “You have to go in there with a tough mentality. You have to perform at your best. You can’t go in there and be worked up, be stressed or freak out. You have to be calm, cool and collected. You have to be at your best.

    “You are under stress, under lights. You have to go out there and perform. It’s the biggest job interview ever.”

  • That stress, that pressure, is something Tyler Matakevich definitely felt. But looking back at it, it was something he knows benefitted him.

    “Those are the most stressful few days of your life,” said Matakevich. “It’s a grind. You are constantly meeting with coaches, doing physicals, doing different things. You have to be mentally tough because it’s going to drain you. Looking back I am so happy I went because it was a great experience. While you are doing it you are so stressed out. Looking back I am very happy I had the opportunity to do it.”

    Having the eyes of every head coach in the NFL on him, just a short time before decisions would be made on NFL Draft day, definitely got the juices flowing.

    “It’s surreal,” said Matakevich, one of the Steelers No. 7 picks last year. “Just to be in that position, being able to talk to these coaches, that alone was unbelievable.

    “I met Coach (Mike) Tomlin and Mr. (Kevin) Colbert at the Senior Bowl. They were the only coach and general manager I met together. I talked to them for 10 minutes. Everyone talked about how cool they were and they were the only ones I talked to. I wanted to play for them. We were just talking about football, how I got to where I was today. It wasn’t awkward or anything.

    “To be here now, words can’t describe it.”