The past two years, Boise State outside linebacker Curtis Weaver was arguably the best pass-rusher in the nation, but he lasted until the 164th pick of this year’s draft where he was picked by Miami. Here are Weaver’s odds at Mybookie to win 2020 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as well as the Dolphins’ over/under win total.
Weaver was a three-star recruit out of California and redshirted his true freshman season in 2016 at Boise State. In 2017 as a redshirt freshman, he was named to the All-Mountain West First Team despite only starting two of 14 games. Weaver led the Mountain West in sacks (11.0) and was fourth in tackles-for-loss (13.0). He also racked up 33 tackles (20 solo) in addition to an interception, and a fumble recovery which he returned 55 yards for a touchdown at Washington State.
As a sophomore he was again first-team All-Mountain West. Then he really blew up last year as a junior in earning second-team All-American and voted Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year. He became the Mountain West’s all-time sack leader Oct. 5 at UNLV, recording three sacks to pass the previous benchmark of 28.5 shared by BYU’s Jan Jorgensen (2006-09) and TCU’s Jerry Hughes (2006-09). Weaver led Boise State in sacks (13.5) and tackles-for-loss (18.5), while racking up 52 tackles, and interception, and a forced fumble He led the Mountain West in both sacks and tackles-for-loss, while finishing tied for fifth and tied for 12th in the country, respectively. Weaver’s 34 career sacks are second in school history.
No player in the FBS recorded more sacks than Weaver (34) over the last three seasons. Chase Young was second with 30 1/2. This is what he said was the key to his pass-rushing success at Boise State: “Working hard, effort,” he said. “The second you’re on the field (you have to give) everything you’ve got. (It’s) God’s gift.”
The Miami Dolphins traded up to grab Weaver in the fifth round at No. 164 overall. He was the fourth Bronco all-time drafted by the Dolphins joining running back Jay Ajayi (2015), defensive back Jamar Taylor (2013) and linebacker Lance Sellers (1987).
Weaver was projected by many to go anywhere between the first and third round, but he fell to the fifth likely because of his lack of athletic traits and uncertain transition to the NFL. Weaver’s arm length was likely a disqualifying variable for some teams, too — 32.38″ arms are below the 10th percentile for NFL edge rushers.
Weaver is a naturally instinctive counter-rusher who uses synchronized hands/feet to attack both inside and outside edges as a rusher, but his lack of explosiveness and athletic traits could dull his rush production against NFL offensive tackles. Weaver’s build could be classified as a bit of a “tweener” — he’s not overly long and he lacks prominent length to play outside and win at first contact. At 6-foot-2, 265 pounds, Weaver’s squatty build offers density but not necessarily potency in explosiveness.
Coach Brian Flores will have an interesting decision to make when it comes to where Weaver fits. The pass rusher could slot at either linebacker or defensive end. Injuries could dictate where Weaver ends up playing. He said at the combine that teams told him that they like the quick-twitch in his game when it comes to the pass rush and that the bend is there, but that his most significant area to improve is his strength, particularly on the bull rush.
Weaver signed a four-year deal with Miami in early May worth around $3.6 million. Weaver, who wore No. 99 in college, announced he will wear No. 96 for the Dolphins.