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Rashad Weaver flashes pass-rushing upside in preseason debut

NFL: AUG 13 Preseason - Titans at Falcons Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tennessee Titans OLB Rashad Weaver took the field Friday night for the first time as an NFL player and made his presence felt as a pass rusher early and often in a 23-3 win over the Falcons.

Weaver was officially credited with two tackles and 1.5 sacks, but made a much larger impact than what the stat sheet would indicate. Weaver pressured A.J. McCarron on several occasions. The Falcons’ backup quarterback rarely looked comfortable as Weaver consistently abused the right side of the Falcons’ offensive line.

“It feels good after the past 2.5 weeks of practice to get out there under the lights. It’s my job. Have fun on defense, celebrate together, swarm to the ball and do what we do on defense,” Weaver said via ESPN.

“I was thinking about the plays I have to clean up and things I didn’t do up to my standards. I’m just trying to do my job and the plays will happen.”

The Titans badly need a third pass rusher to emerge behind Bud Dupree and Harold Landry this season. The Titans failed to generate a consistent threat off the edge during the 2020 campaign. Tennessee added Dupree via a massive deal in free agency, but a rookie like Weaver could also play an instrumental role in helping this pass rush turn things around.

Weaver has an advanced skill set that’s full of swipes, hand counters and combinations. He has terrific length and understands how to use it to his advantage. He showed a lot of effort in his first NFL game, something that he also did consistently at Pittsburgh as well.

If Friday night was any indication of the kind of rookie season Weaver is capable of having in 2021, opposing quarterbacks better beware.