The Cincinnati Bengals are making it a point of emphasis to bring in new linebackers this offseason. They met with several of them at the scouting combine, including Patrick Queen, Troy Dye, and Akeem Davis-Gaither. If they miss the chance on drafting any of those players, they’ll have to keep acquaint themselves with late-round options.
Former California linebacker Evan Weaver is one of those options; and, per Justin Melo of The Draft Wire, the Bengals will use a pre-draft visit to meet with Weaver.
In our Senior Bowl interview with Duke Tobin, the Bengals’ director of player personnel explained he and his staff value production ratios in a draft prospects’ scouting report. Production, specifically relative to his teammates, is the crown jewel of Weaver’s resume.
This past season, Weaver accounted for over 19% of Cal’s solo tackles; a mark that no other linebacker in this draft class can touch. Having a high solo tackle market share has shown to be critical in predicting future success for linebackers over the past 30 years, but successful linebackers also have to be very good athletes. Weaver’s athleticism testing went better than expected, but his below average speed and explosion will limit his effectiveness at the next level and should keep him out of the first 100 or so picks in the NFL Draft.
If he’s available starting in the fourth round, a team like the Bengals could absolutely take a chance on Weaver. His production and long-time starting experience (31 starts, 49 total games played) will intrigue linebacker-needy teams that could use depth. For the Bengals, hopefully they’ve already selected a linebacker before Weaver is considered.