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Cardinals Draft Linebacker Evan Weaver In Sixth Round

Cal product was highly productive as a senior

The Cardinals made Cal LB Evan Weaver their sixth-round pick in 2020.
The Cardinals made Cal LB Evan Weaver their sixth-round pick in 2020.

Evan Weaver does not jump off the page athletically, like fellow Cardinals inside linebacker draft pick Isaiah Simmons.

For that reason, the Cal product lasted until the sixth-round of the NFL draft on Saturday.

Those perceived limitations don't concern Weaver as much as others, because every time he's stepped on the football field, it hasn't stopped him from succeeding.

Weaver enters the NFL fresh off a consensus All-American season as a senior, in which he led the country with 182 tackles and added 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

Weaver said he is motivated by "being underestimated my whole life, people overlooking me my whole life," he said. "Coming from a small town in Washington, playing football, you don't really get looked at a lot by colleges. Thankfully Cal picked me up, and now I got picked up by the Cardinals. I'm ready to roll and ready to prove people wrong."

Weaver will join a crowded inside linebacker group. Jordan Hicks and De'Vondre Campbell are the veteran projected starters, while Simmons was drafted No. 8 overall to be a versatile playmaker.

Backups Tanner Vallejo, Dennis Gardeck and Ezekiel Turner all have special teams value, so it should be a good competition to make the roster. Weaver has a friendly look to him, but it belies the competitor within that is excited for the challenge of the NFL.

"I hit people as hard as I possibly can," Weaver said. "(I like) really taking the soul out of people. Once you get in the third, fourth quarter, they don't want to play any more, because they just don't want to hang with you."

Coach Kliff Kingsbury smiled when he was relayed that quote from Weaver.

"That's a bit aggressive, but that sounds like him," Kingsbury said. "When you meet him at the Senior Bowl, he walks in that room and he's on fire. He's ready to hit people in that room. That's how he wakes up and that's how he goes to sleep. That's how you want them. He's definitely going to come in with a chip on his shoulder, and that's his edge out there on the football field."