Taking a look at Boise State edge rusher Curtis Weaver, who the New York Giants may target in the second round of the upcoming draft.
After racking up just 30 and 36 sacks respectively in 2018 and 2019, it’s clear the New York Giants need to bolster their pass rush heading into next season. This is especially the case when you consider the fact that Markus Golden‘s future is still unclear. Golden led the team with 10 sacks in 2019 but is now a free agent and has yet to ink a new deal.
With each passing day, it seems the chances of Golden playing for the Giants in 2020 are shrinking more and more. So having said that, New York could surely look to the draft for an addition to their already young pass rush.
A selection of this type likely won’t be made in the first round, due to the fact that the Giants will probably reserve their top pick for either an offensive tackle or Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons. So that brings us to the second round (No. 36 overall selection), when Big Blue may end up targeting a talented edge rusher in Boise State’s Curtis Weaver.
The versatile pass rusher thrived during his trio of campaigns (40 total games) with Boise State. Weaver was a two-time first-team All-Mountain West selection (2018, 2019) and, this past season, earned the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In 2019 (his redshirt junior campaign), Weaver recorded 52 total tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, one interception, three passes defended, and one forced fumble. His 34 career sacks are the most in the history of the Mountain West Conference.
At the NFL Scouting Combine, he measured out to be 6-foot-2, 265 pounds with 32.375-inch arms and 10-inch hands. Weaver additionally recorded a 32.5-inch vertical jump and 116-inch broad jump.
The Boise State standout is a little bit heavier than some of the other potential second-round edge rushers. At the combine, Notre Dame’s Julian Okwara measured in at 6-foot-4, 252 pounds while LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson measured in at 6-foot-3, 254 pounds.
Film room notes
In regards to his on-field play, what’s clear almost immediately is Weaver’s ability to stay patient. For the most part, he’s able to utilize good vision and footwork to not overcommit in certain circumstances.
Such as this play during a 2019 win over Florida State, in which Weaver does a great job on a Seminole zone read.
Weaver is also able to portray this talent when defending pass plays, which is shown in the next two clips. The fact that he can drop back into coverage proves his versatility. His strengths aren’t just limited to rushing the passer or stopping the run, which will be nothing but a benefit to him at the next level.
Although, there was one play in particular in which he did actually overcommit just a little, and it cost him. It was on a reverse play that ended up coming towards his side, and Weaver simply failed to stay home.
A negative aspect to his play, that you can see for yourself in a number of instances, is that he fails to utilize his power at times. This leads to offensive linemen flushing him out of plays, obviously something that won’t provide him with much success in the pros.
If there’s anything he needs to improve on at the next level, it’s that. The offensive linemen in the NFL will be the strongest guys he’s ever faced in his life, and his power will need to be utilized both effectively and efficiently.
He also seems to take a few seconds to accelerate. Weaver isn’t really a speed rusher by any means, but the quickness will additionally need to improve upon his entrance into the NFL.
On a better note, Weaver’s best play against Florida State came late in the matchup. He ultimately attacks his opponent, takes advantage of their flatfootedness with a swift move, squares up, and brings the quarterback down for the fourth-quarter sack.
The following plays are from another 2019 Boise State win, this time against Colorado State.
In this first one, Colorado State runs a wide receiver screen. The Boise State defensive back comes up and Weaver comes over to help bring down the ball carrier. What’s impressive though is that Weaver doesn’t overcommit to the point where he can allow the wideout to cut back to the inside. He stays patient, clogs up that lane, and makes the tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
Weaver then shows off great athleticism in a play towards the end of the first half. The left tackle initially slows him down, but Weaver is able to retain his balance, portray solid reflexes, and jump up the deflect a pass from the quarterback. He then utilizes his great vision to locate the ball in the air and reel it in for the interception.
How Weaver would fit into the Giants roster
If Golden doesn’t re-sign with the Giants, then Weaver would instantly compete for one of the starting edge rusher spots. But, it’s unclear if he would win the job. He’d be going up against Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, who already possess familiarity with the organization and a majority of the teammates, and Kyler Fackrell, who’s proven he can rush the passer in this league (10.5 sacks for Green Bay in 2018).
So Carter, Ximines, and Fackrell would definitely have a leg up on Weaver in those regards. Therefore, the Giants could initially use Weaver as an extra rusher within certain blitz packages.
But that doesn’t mean changes wouldn’t potentially be made. Carter and Fackrell have both portrayed inconsistency in their respective careers. After his strong 2018 performance, Fackrell racked up just one sack last year. Carter, on the other hand, only combined for 8.5 sacks in his first pair of NFL campaigns (30 total games).
If Carter was to once again show that inconsistency, then the Giants could possibly plug Weaver into one of the edge spots and shift Lorenzo to inside linebacker.
Of course, these are all just ideas right now. The Giants would need to actually draft the Boise State Bronco before anything.