Scouting Lenz: Rashad Weaver, Defensive Finish, Pittsburgh

The Florian native had offers from many schools in the north, including Michigan, where Weaver was originally involved. After the Wolverines offered his scholarship to another player, it wasn’t sure they would have a place on their list for Weaver. The three-star recruit opted for a withdrawal and accepted an offer from the University of Pittsburgh for a scholarship. Other teams chasing him were Temple, South Florida, and Penn State. In his first season, Weaver started five games as a freshman before starting all 14 in 2018. That season he broke out and collected 47 tackles, including 14 for a loss and six and a half sacks. His youth campaign was interrupted just a few weeks before the start of the season due to an ACL suffered in the training camp. Fighting difficulties recovering from a major knee injury paid off for Weaver when he received the First-Team All-ACC award in 2020 with a total of seven and a half sacks and three forced fumbling. His efforts at Heinz Field were rewarded with an invitation to the Senior Bowl.

The evaluation

Weaver is a prototype size of 6045 and 270 pounds and is long enough to reach blockers on extension. This allows him to convert speed to power while engaging the tackle’s chest and creating the thrust to propel him into the pocket after hitting him with his powerful hands. Weaver has crucial hands that are fast enough on double hand strikes, aiming for the elbows to deconstruct the blocker. His hands and length help him stay clean on speed tracks. When his bat hits the blocker’s outer hand, he can dip the shoulder, which gives the device a small surface area to land his shot. His rip move needs improvement as it rarely gets the timing right and gives the linemen a chance to recover. At the head of his rush, Weaver shows a spin move that is not dynamic and is often unsuccessful. The decisive hands help him to quickly break away from aggressive runblockers that attack him. This allows Weaver to go through the back door and blow up side running games. His proactive power from the ball is also impressive as he can push blockers backwards and force cuts in the zone and other side runs to the edges. With its length and strength, Weaver sometimes uses a push-pull movement to deconstruct. The fifth year senior knows what it takes to be successful in football. This shows in the effort with which he plays. He throws multiple counters at blockers and does not accept a stalemate as a pass rusher. When Weaver is not blocked, he will be patient in reading the network point and maintaining the gap integrity. He just does his job. His experience shows in stunts and lightning, where he subtle holds blockers to give teammates a free run at the quarterback. Lack of explosiveness, twitching and getting out limit his ability to win quickly with speed and athleticism. As a pass rusher, he’s often a slow burner, but can win quickly if his first move beats the blocker decisively. Weaver projects are a five technique but can add weight and step in further if needed. Despite his lack of high-end athleticism, he has the length and hands necessary to start on a line of defense, or at least play significant snapshots.

The ribbon

His aforementioned hand use was evident when Weaver took on potential top 50 left winger Liam Eichenberg of Notre Dame. With the double handshake he knocks down Eichenberg’s hands and urges the quarterback to flee:

Weaver shows his onslaught from the outside against Boston College and knocks down the duels from outside, but comes too late to the passerby due to lack of sportiness:

In the same game, he showed his strength, took the device straight into Jurkovec’s lap and stole the football from him:

Weaver would have gone behind the door with the right tackle and probably would have been tackled for a loss, but was arrested:

With the reading option, Weaver stays patient and clean, and rewards himself if the quarterback reads incorrectly:

Improving his anchor needs to be a focus of his off-season as he can occasionally get off the line as in this game. Both tight ends soften the edge:

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