NASHVILLE – Rashad Weaver busted it to put himself in a position to make his mark in the NFL.
Now, the Pittsburgh edge rusher is ready to bust loose with the Titans after being selected in the fourth round of Saturday's NFL Draft.
"When I got on the phone, I felt like they got the biggest steal of the draft," Weaver said of the Titans. "I thought I'd be going on Day 2, honestly, but some things just change. But at this point now I have been drafted, and people dream of this. I am so thankful for it. For them to pick me, I am excited. I think they got a great value pick in me, and I am ready to prove that to them.
"(The Titans) put the faith in me to pick me, and I'll be ready to come in there and make plays and work and do whatever I am asked."
Weaver, selected with the 135th overall pick, missed the entire 2019 season due to injury.
But Weaver said he learned a lot of patience, and a lot about himself, while recovering from an ACL injury. And he exploded back on the scene in 2020 while earning consensus All‐America status last season with the Panthers from four of the NCAA's recognized selectors: Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Walter Camp Football Foundation.
"When my time did come, I wanted to be ready," he said. "I want to help the defense every play and cause havoc for offenses."
Weaver (6-4, 259) was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award (presented to the national defensive player of the year) after starting in nine games at defensive end. In 2020, Weaver 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.).
In 2018, Weaver started all 14 games at defensive end and compiled 47 tackles, 14 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, four pass breakups, three fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles.
Titans General Manager Jon Robinson likes what the team is getting in Wallace.
"I think that he's a tough player, he's a team captain and they speak very highly of him," Robinson said. "He's got good length. He's got good strength in the position, you know, so much so that they even kicked him down at the Senior Bowl and you can see him play down some over the guard in there and he held his own. He's a high motor player. He's a fun player to watch. I think he's a disruptive player in both the run and the pass game, and excited for him to come in here and compete and work."
With the Titans, Wallace will look to wreak havoc with former Pittsburgh Steelers edge rusher Bud Dupree, who signed with the Titans earlier this offseason in free agency. Weaver said he's also looking forward to being teammates with Titans edge rusher Harold Landry.
It turns out, Dupree and Weaver are already friendly.
"Just from him being a Steeler, I was always watching him and T.J. (Watt), because they are great pass rushers," Weaver said. "And actually, when I was out in Arizona training, I got connected with Bud – me and him have the same financial advisor now, and I have been out with him a few times, and we text. We've had dinner.
"So, me and him are already a little bit acquainted, and I'll definitely be trying to learn from him and pick his mind."