Cal Football: Evan Weaver May Have Helped His Draft Status in Senior Bowl
Cal linebacker Evan Weaver seemed to help his NFL Draft stock with his performance in Saturday's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. At least that's the impression we got based on reports on Weaver.
The North beat the South 34-17 but that's of little concern to players, who were simply trying to move up in the upcoming draft.
Cal safety Ashtyn Davis was also in Mobile, Alabama, for the week after being invited to the Senior Bowl, but did not participate in practices or the game as he continues to recover from the groin surgery that kept him out of the Redbox Bowl.
But Weaver did practice and he did play, and he was hoping to make believers of NFL scouts. He is projected to be selected somewhere around the third or fourth round of the NFL Draft, and you know Weaver thinks he's better than that.
Theo Lawson of the Spokane Spokesman Review provided a good account of Weaver's performance in the Senior Bowl along with the announcers comments about Weaver, who grew up in Spokane and attended Gonzaga Prep. Here's what Lawson reported:
Defensive numbers were not tallied by Senior Bowl statisticians, but Weaver either made or assisted on no fewer than five tackles in the game, displaying strong pursuit of the ball on a first-quarter carry from Memphis’ Antonio Gibson.
“Who made that tackle there, DJ?” Charles Davis said. “Was that the tackling machine?”
“Yeah, that was Evan Weaver from Cal who wears No. 89 at linebacker, which is always unique to see,” Daniel Jeremiah said.
“He went to Cal as a defensive end and has kept the number,” Davis added. “But every time you turned on a Cal tape or watched a Cal game, didn’t it feel like he made 20 tackles in that game?”
Weaver turned in a few more tackles for a defense that allowed no more than seven points in a single quarter and made one of the top special teams plays when the linebacker motored down the field on a punt to down the ball at the 1-yard line.
“Weaver’s got a tackle on special teams, he’s downed one inside the 1-yard line, he’s got a boatload of tackles on defense,” Jeremiah said.
“And to zero surprise, because that’s who he is,” Davis said. “No matter all that motivation he has, won’t test well, all that. Excellent punt by Braden Mann, but Evan Weaver is one of those football players. You turn him on, on game day, and turn him loose and he finds a way to make plays.”
The NFL Networks featured a segment on Weaver in the third quarter, telling the story about how as a junior, the linebacker began writing negative things said about him on a rock stored in the bedroom of his Berkeley apartment. The broadcast showed a picture of the rock, scribbled with things such as “bad body,” “stiff in hips,” “slow – 4.8 (40-yard dash) estimated” and “Day 3 pick.”
“On one side of the rock, it says, ‘People don’t understand, ceiling is not visible,’ ” Jeremiah shared. “And on the other side, ‘Why not us?’ ”
Ah, that's why Cal fans love Weaver. But that was not the only report about Weaver.
Here is a Lawson Twitter video of Weaver making a play on special teams:
And here is shot of him plugging up the middle, as he did so many times at Cal:
The Silver and Black Pride website seemed to be lobbying the Raiders to draft Weaver with its assessment during the week of practice in Mobile:
[H]e’s looked like the cream of the crop among linebackers in attendance down in Mobile, Alabama.
While many scouts have their eye on Weaver, he seems to have the Raiders circled as one of his preferred destinations.
“It’s definitely a place I’d love to play. They have a great coach and he’s going to be there for a while, and they have a good system,” he said. “Mike Mayock is a really smart GM. He knows what he’s doing, and it’d be an honor to play for them and an honor to put the silver and black on.”
Weaver has been fighting to trim his body into that of a modern NFL linebacker, and he wants to showcase that he can be an asset in coverage at the next level. To do so, he’s now dropped from 245 pounds down to a lean 234 since the 2019 season began.
Lawson and the Spokesman Review also cobbled together some comments about Weaver and some Weaver quotes from earlier in the week. One that stands out is Weaver saying he is one of the better athletes there. No word on whether he was kidding.
Here is a segment of that report:
Weaver, who continued to chip away at the weight loss through Cal’s eight-win season, showed up to Mobile at 234 pounds and told reporters on Monday, “I feel like I’m one of the more athletic guys out here, I just need the chance to prove it. That’s why I’m here this week. I’ll have three days, too, and I’m not worried about that part at all.”
There will also be questions as to what position best suits Weaver at the next level. In Cal’s base defense, Weaver played as a traditional inside linebacker, but other schemes allowed him to flex outside and act as more of an edge rusher.
“There were a few packages we had where I lined up outside and did a little rush end out there or maybe dropped back,” Weaver told Bengals.com earlier this week. “I’m willing to do anything in the league. Wherever they want to put me, I’ll go out and play.”
“Cal inside linebacker Evan Weaver is getting good buzz too,” RC Fischer of Fantasy Pros wrote. “I think that Matt Patricia is taking a bit of a shine to him because he’s such a cerebral player.”
Buccaneers.com singled out Weaver for his performance in the Day 2 practice:
LB Evan Weaver, Cal – He was involved in some Pac-12 on Pac-12 crime as he met Arizona State quarterback Eno Benjamin up the middle in a hurry. It was a huge tackle as he came right through the middle with a head start to back Benjamin up.
And a few more twitter comments/videos: