4 Under-the-Radar Linebackers the Cincinnati Bengals can Target
Cal linebacker Evan Weaver was one player we highlighted to watch out for at the Senior Bowl. While he didn’t grab headlines like some of the other players in attendance, you can be sure that the Bengals coaching staff took note of him.
Weaver and the previously mentioned Wilson have a lot in common. They each have incredible production, with Weaver collecting over 400 tackles and 8.5 sacks throughout the course of his college career. Both also have leadership experience as well, earning spots as captains.
Where Weaver differs, however, is that his strength lies between the tackles rather than in pass coverage. The Draft Network had this to say in their evaluation of the Washington native,
"“Density and strength benefit him when working across face of climbing offensive linemen — can initiate contact and create quick displacement to present in gaps. Flashes of block deconstruction ability with his hands, hips, and feet illustrate his ideal developmental track. Effective gap-shooting backer who is willing to play downhill with the strength to hold his ground on backfield penetration. Good tackle radius and can reach a cruising top speed when he has enough of a runway, which adds to his range from the middle”"
He brings great fundamentals to the box and plays with emotion that’s contagious. However, many scouts believe that he has limitations that will force him into being only a two-down linebacker. That can be fine if the Bengals draft him at the correct spot.
Weaver will come in and be a sure tackler, something that would be welcome for a defense that seems to miss a lot of looks. Beyond that, with the intensity of his style, he can be a huge attribute on special teams. The Bengals will likely bring in multiple new players at the linebacker position this off-season and Weaver could be one.