Rashad Weaver could make Titans three-deep at edge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At long last, the Titans could qualify as three-deep at edge rusher.

Everything comes with the “if they are healthy caveat,” but fourth-rounder Rashad Weaver from Pitt certainly projects as someone who they can get ready to take some snaps from Bud Dupree and Harold Landry.

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Courtesy Pitt athletics

Weaver, who recorded had 17 sacks and 34.5 tackles for losses in 35 games, said he feels like the steal in the draft and is going to help defend the run and the pass. His coaches at Pitt preached how run defense leads to good things.

“If you don’t stop the run, you’re not going to get sacks, you’re not going to get to do the fun stuff, the stuff that gets you drafted, the stuff that gets you paid,” he said. “Once you stop the run, teams have to pass. That was our mindset as a D-line.

“…When you stop the run, you’re taking the O-lineman’s soul away from him, because if they can’t block you in a run block, they definitely can’t block you in a pass block.”

Mike Vrabel gets exasperated by the Landry play-time question, but it’s Shane Bowen who spent last offseason setting up the idea that Landry needed to play less to be more effective.

With a complete flameout from Vic Beasley and the season-ending knee injury that meant only eight games of middling effectiveness from Jadeveon Clowney, Landry went from 86 to 94 percent of the defensive snaps from 2019 to 2020.

While Vrabel said a team’s going to want its best players on the field, there is a point of diminishing returns. Dupree played 91 percent in 2019 for the Steelers and didn’t finish last year because he tore his ACL.

It would be great if Weaver is good enough to force some sort of rotation. It would also be great if he develops enough as a rookie that the Titans have some confidence in a Dupree-Weaver combo if Landry reaches free agency and moves on in 2022.

Weaver already knows Dupree as they connected training in Arizona and now share a financial advisor. They have spoken about ACL repair recovery – Dupree is rehabbing now, Weaver missed 2019 because of the injury.

“I’ve texted with him… we would chat it up and talk and we’ve had dinner,” Weaver said. “Me and him are already a little bit acquainted and I’ll definitely be trying to learn from him and pick his mind, maybe try to get on his nerves. I know he likes asking questions here and there about his skills, so maybe if I help him, he’ll help me even more.”apple icon 144x144 precomposed

After that ACL injury, Weaver said he really reshaped his game. He was making plays on tape in 2018 but it just was not good technically, he said, and his success just came off of natural skill. 

He figured he would have been a seventh-rounder or undrafted off that, but he worked to make deposits he could cash out when he needed to and they were there for him during his final season.

Weaver sounded very self-aware and bright. The Titans need guys like that and seem to be gathering them.

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