The New York Giants need to find a pass rush from somewhere in 2020 (and beyond).
They might be hoping that an improved secondary will give them more options for scheming a pass rush, as well as more opportunities for rushers to get to the quarterback. However, they might also need more players capable of getting after the passer.
Boise State EDGE Curtis Weaver isn’t an unknown, but he isn’t garnering much buzz in this year’s draft class, either. That’s somewhat surprising for a player who has been remarkably productive, finishing the year tied for second in the country in solo sacks (13), to go with 19.5 tackles for a loss. Weaver was a versatile and productive defender for Boise State, but could he be the same for the Giants?
Prospect: Curtis Weaver (EDGE, Boise State)
Games Watched: vs. Florida State (2019), vs. UNLV (2019), vs. Colorado State (2019), vs. Washington (2019)
Red Flags: Foot (2019)
Games Played (starts): 40
Tackles For a loss: 47.5
Forced Fumbles: 3
Passes Defensed: 6
Games Played (starts): 14
Tackles For a loss: 19.5
Forced Fumbles: 1
Passes Defensed: 3
Best: Hand usage, first step, motor, football IQ
Worst: Fluidity and agility
Projection: A key rotational EDGE with starting upside in a multiple defense.
Boise State EDGE Curtis Weaver sports a compact, powerful build with good thickness in his upper and lower body. Weaver played a variety of roles from a variety of alignments for Boise State’s defense. Most commonly played as a stand-up rusher from a two-point stance, he also played as a defensive end from a three-point stance as well as a SAM linebacker at the second level. Weaver has a good sense for anticipating the snap, and features an explosive get-off to challenge pass protectors off the edge. Weaver also shows very good and polished hand usage. He has very active hands, routinely finding defenders’ chest plates in power rushes, as well as showing chop, rip, swipe, and spin moves to counter with speed, as well as the ability to string moves together and battle throughout extended reps.
Weaver has good play strength, playing with a wide base to stand up to tackles in run defense. He routinely plays with good hip and pad level, as well as actively seeking half-man leverage to maximize his play strength.
Weaver does not have great athleticism, with limited range as well as poor fluidity in space. He also has less than ideal length, which limits his tackle radius along with his athleticism. Weaver was occasionally asked to drop into coverage by Boise State, both for zone blitzes as well as to play a more traditional linebacker role. He should not be asked to do so at the next level, as he lacks the range and mobility to match up with NFL tight ends, running backs, or receivers in space.
Weaver suffered a foot injury late in the season, and medical reports could be important to his draft stock.
Overall Grade: 6.2 - Has the traits to be an important rotational player with the upside to be a potential starter in the right scheme. A second day value. [Grading Scale]
Curtis Weaver projects as a rotational EDGE in a multiple defense. He has the ability to play out of both 2 and 3-point stances, giving his defense flexibility in alignments and fronts. Weaver is a very smart, polished player who understands his assignments, is rarely fooled by misdirection and has very good technique. He shows a rare ability (for a prospect) to rush with a plan, setting up tackles and then responding with a counter move. Weaver’s ability to win with his hands, gain half-man leverage, and move in a short area can make him an absolute handful for blockers.
Weaver might be best served by dropping some weight and playing at roughly 250 or 255 pounds. He has a stocky build which limits his ability to bend, but seemed both thicker and slower towards the end of his junior year — particularly after he suffered a foot injury. Playing lighter would reduce the stress on his foot as well as help improve his quickness, expand his range, and could make his speed rushes even more dangerous.
Weaver could play a role similar to Melvin Ingram of the Los Angeles Chargers. While Weaver isn’t quite as good of an athlete as Ingram, he sports a similar frame and versatility. Weaver’s football IQ, motor, and ability to find ways to beat blockers will get him on the field in the NFL. If he can maintain his play strength at a lighter weight with improved athleticism, he has the upside to start in a scheme that takes advantage of his IQ and versatility.