Former Pitt defensive end Rashad Weaver was, at one point, expected to go in the early rounds of the 2021 NFL draft. But by the start of the third day, he was still on the board. The Pitt alum would not remain there long, though, as the Tennessee Titans selected him with the 135th overall pick in the fourth round.
Weaver was the second player from Pitt to come off the board, as Patrick Jones II was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round with the 90th overall pick. Weaver and Jones both came to Pitt with two-star ratings from Rivals, but they were both able to exceed the expectations of recruiting analysts.
Last season, Weaver and Jones formed one of the most formidable pairs of defensive ends in the nation, combining for 16.5 sacks and 27.5 tackles for loss on a team that led the nation both categories, with 46 sacks and 111 tackles for losses. And for Weaver’s part, he came up with a career-high 7.5 sacks and 14.5 tackles for losses despite playing just nine games.
That was not the first time Weaver had displayed such dominance, as he had led Pitt in sacks and tackles for loss, with 6.5 and 14, respectively, in 2018. However, the 6’5”, 270-pound edge rusher was sidelined for the entire 2019 season after suffering a knee injury during a practice session. So his 2020 season was a return to form, but it also displayed an escalation in skill, as he posted career highs despite playing fewer games than ever before. And for his efforts, he concluded his Pitt career with consensus All-America honors.
Weaver also performed well at the Senior Bowl and at Pitt’s pro day, so it seems the fall from potential early-round pick to the fourth round may have been due to qualms about his 2019 injury, especially since less accomplished linemen were taken ahead of him. But despite the trepidation, Weaver has proved he still has plenty to offer at the next level and should be viewed as a steal in the fourth round.