NFL Hot Press: Wide Range of Draft Grades on Pittsburgh Defensive Ends

Wide Range of Draft Grades on Pittsburgh Defensive Ends

Updated Dec. 4, 2020
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

In this bizarre and ever-changing college football season, one of the best on-field defensive tandems has been Pittsburgh defensive ends Rashad Weaver and Patrick Jones II. Through 10 games, the duo has combined for 16.5 sacks and has put steady pressure on the quarterback, including an impressive performance in limited opportunities against Clemson. A surveying of NFL team sources found a wide range of grades for the two players, with the only basic consensus being that Weaver grades out ahead of Jones.

One director of college scouting said their team had a first-round grade on Weaver, and another senior executive said they also had a first-round grade on him as well. Three other teams said they had Weaver had in the second round, with one of them putting him on the bubble between Rounds 2 and 3. Weaver missed the 2018 season with an injury, so his medical history could cause some teams to be more leary about him. Tll five teams involved, however, had the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Weaver rated ahead of Jones because of a better skill set.

Jones (6-5, 260) has been the more productive of the two this season, collecting nine sacks to Weaver’s 7.5; however, Jones (6-5, 260) is smaller and some teams see him as a potential backup. A couple of teams had Jones as a late second- or early third-round pick, while three others had Jones as a late third- or early fourth-round pick.

The 2021 NFL Draft is not especially strong along the defensive line, and the NFL is a passing-driven league with plenty of teams in need of more edge-rush talent. Thus, Weaver and Jones both could rise in the leadup to the 2021 NFL Draft.