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OLB Rashad Weaver Has Quietly Made "Great Progress" Since His Season-Ending Injury With Titans in 2021


NASHVILLE – The Titans have complimented cornerback Caleb Farley, the team's first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, several times this offseason for his commitment – and progress – coming off season-ending surgery a year ago.

Meanwhile, there's another member of last year's draft class – outside linebacker Rashad Weaver – who has pretty much flown under the radar since being lost for the season early last year.

But that doesn't mean those with the team haven't noticed his strides. Weaver suffered a lower leg injury on September 26 against the Colts last year, and he went on season-ending Injured Reserve two days later. He spent the end of 2021 recovering, and rehabbing.

"His progress has been great, and he's working hard," Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said of Weaver, a fourth-round pick in last year's NFL Draft. "Rashad is maybe one of the hardest workers out of that rookie class. He is off the scooter, he is out of the boot, and he is walking around. I have seen him in the facility. He has been extremely diligent with getting himself back. I know he loves football. Football is important to him. So, it has been fun to kind of watch him grow and really bust his can to try and help the team."

Robinson made his comments at the NFL owners meetings, when Coach Mike Vrabel also discussed what he saw from Weaver before his injury.

Weaver made his NFL regular season debut in Week 2 of last season at Seattle, and a week later he tallied two tackles before suffering in the injury in the third quarter against the Colts.

A semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (presented to the national defensive player of the year) during his final season at Pittsburgh, Weaver got Tennessee's attention right out of the gate in last year's preseason, when he was credited with 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits, three tackles, and one tackle for a loss in his preseason debut against the Falcons.

"He was playing hard (before the injury), and he was getting better," Vrabel said of Weaver. "He just kept charging. There was a level of improvement, and there was a level of effort that I thought was encouraging."

Robinson believes the future is bright for Weaver, who was selected with the 135th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, because of his unique skill set

In nine games at Pittsburgh in 2020, Weaver (6-4, 259) totaled 35 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He led the ACC in sacks per game (0.83 avg.) and tackles for loss per game (1.61 avg.).

"He's different," Robinson said of Weaver. "People want to try and compare him to Harold (Landry) or Bud (Dupree) or Denico (Autry), and he is different. He is a longer end, he is kind of slippery, almost Gumby-like the way he rushes because he has good bend. He is not a super-fast player, but he has good quickness, and he does a really good job of getting skinny on blocks, not giving the offensive linemen a big target surface-area wise to try to hit.

"He needs to continue to gain strength, and it looks like he's added some size and some muscle, just watching him walk around the facility. It will be important for him to try and expand his bag of tricks this offseason."

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