Rashad Weaver NFL Draft Overview
Position: Defensive End
Weight: 273 pounds
Rashad Weaver Draft Profile
The Pittsburgh Panthers had an underrated set of defensive linemen in 2020 who could all be drafted this year. Rashad Weaver is one of those prospects who had a productive career for the Panthers, has good size, and possesses solid pass rush traits that scouts will like on tape. He had some injury concerns; however, Weaver proved his health in 2020 by having his most productive season as a college athlete.
Weaver was only graded as a three-star athlete out of Cooper City High School, Florida. However, scouts were intrigued by Weaver’s size and several schools offered scholarships to the defensive end, including Penn State and Syracuse. He originally committed to the University of Michigan. Weaver de-committed from the Wolverines and committed to Pittsburgh.
The edge rusher improved every season he played for the Panthers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Weaver redshirted as a freshman before making three sacks for Pittsburgh in 2017. He racked up six sacks and started all 14 games as a sophomore. Weaver was expected to make another leap his junior year but missed the entire 2019 campaign after tearing his ACL. Weaver came back as a senior in 2020 and had a big impact on the Panthers defense. He finished his college career by recording 7.5 sacks, proving his health is in a good place, and raising his draft stock in the process.
- Ideal length for the pro level – knows how to use it, has an array of counter moves using his length;
- Good hands – powerful in the run game;
- Productive – lived in the opposing backfield at Pittsburgh;
- Diagnoses the run game well – holds up blockers and beats blockers with his length;
- Another year removed from the ACL injury – could see more dynamic movement moving forward.
- Lack of quick-twitch to his pass rush – slow developing pass rusher;
- Lack of elite lateral movement – could improve another year removed from knee surgery;
- His versatility on the edge is an upside projection – more at home as a 3-4 end;
- With his playstyle, needs weight added to his frame and/or develop more efficient block shedding moves;
- Projects as a rotational piece – limits his draft stock.
NFL Comparison: Denico Autry
Autry represents the style of play and production Weaver should look to achieve. At 285 pounds, Autry isn’t an ideal size for interior work but uses his height, 6’5″, and length to his advantage. Occasionally lining up as a pure pass-rushing defensive end, Autry mainly plays on the inside. He had been productive at the next level by developing a quick get-off to shoot gaps and sheds blockers using his length and strong hand. This is a projection of Weaver but he has the physical tools to work towards it.
Projection: Round 3-4
Bottom Line on Rashad Weaver
Weaver is one of several Pittsburgh defensive linemen entering the draft in 2021 and is not one who received the most attention in college. Patrick Jones and Jaylen Twyman are also very draftable talent in the middle rounds. Weaver projects as a solid rotational piece early in his career and his consistent improvement in college is a good sign that he is coachable and looks for ways to improve.
However, it’s difficult to say if he’s truly a limited athlete or if another year removed from an ACL tear will improve his short-area quickness and burst. If it’s the former, Weaver will likely need to add weight to his frame to compete consistently as a defensive end at the professional level. He has strong powerful hands to disengage with blockers, but his rushes develop slowly. He won’t get to the quarterback at the next level if he doesn’t improve his get-off or develop a stronger bull rush.
Overall, Weaver has the ideal height and length to compete at the pro level. He uses his leverage well which scouts will like on tape and generally has a high football IQ. Consistent statistical production wins above all else and Weaver manufactures disruption in the run and pass game. He could prove a great value pick in the middle rounds for a team lacking depth and production on their defensive line.
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