Evan Weaver was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the sixth round of the 2020 NFL Draft with the 202nd pick overall. He was one of just six players hauled in by the Cardinals in their draft selections, joining fellow Pac-12 players in Utah DI Leki Fotu and Arizona State RB Eno Benjamin.
Some classes were given resounding grades while others were given pretty poor reviews. The Cardinals, on the other hand, have been given a ‘ho-hum’ reaction by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. in his post-draft grades for every team.
If you looked at the Cardinals’ offseason so far, you’d think they went to the playoffs in 2019. They put the franchise tag on running back Kenyan Drake. They spent in free agency to add defensive tackle Jordan Phillips. They traded for a new No. 1 wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins, giving up a second-round pick and running back David Johnson, who was barely used down the stretch. They haven’t lost much of value off their 2019 roster.
The reality, though, is that this team went 5-10-1 in Kliff Kingsbury’s first season in charge, and rookie quarterback Kyler Murray was often running for his life. Yes, the offense was fun to watch, but Murray was sacked 48 times, tied for most in the NFL. That’s why, when Arizona was on the clock at No. 8, I thought for sure it was going to go with one of the offensive tackles on the board — there is a huge hole at right tackle right now, and Jedrick Wills Jr., Mekhi Becton and Tristan Wirfs were available.
Instead, general manager Steve Keim chose to go with the best player available, ending Isaiah Simmons’ brief fall. As I said Thursday night, I like Simmons, but this was the spot to help Murray (and the run game), and I’m not sure where Simmons fits in the Cardinals’ defense. The reason I can’t fault it too much is that Keim and Kingsbury did get a starting tackle with their next pick. Offensive tackle Josh Jones (72) is No. 40 overall on my board, and I thought he could sneak into the bottom of Round 1. He was a four-year starter at left tackle in college, but he could move over to the right side in the NFL.
I also liked run-stuffing tackle Leki Fotu (114) and running back Eno Benjamin on Day 3, and of course, I have to factor in the Cardinals getting Hopkins. My only knock on this class is passing on all the tumbling tight ends. That’s a hole that wasn’t filled. This is a nice class — though I still don’t quite see Arizona as a contender in the NFC West.
Hard to not notice that he didn’t write up Weaver at all in his words, perhaps speaking more about him with no words than he could have with words.
Regardless, the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year from 2019 and the owner of a bajillion tackles during his time at Cal is headed a bit southeast and should absolutely warrant a spot on their roster due to his sideline-to-sideline ability.
As ho-hum as it may be, I really liked the addition of Weaver to a defense who needs some solid tacklers.