When Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the rest of the season in just his fourth game with the Silver and Black, it became clear how glaring of a hole this team has at middle linebacker.
The Raiders made strides this season, in big thanks to their stellar 2019 draft class, but this team still has plenty of glaring holes. While they need plenty of help at wide receiver, linebacker is quite the big need as well.
Mike Mayock won't have to look too far for help. With the Raiders' season over, the general manager could take a short drive to Levi's Stadium to watch a local linebacker who racked up records this season.
Here's why the Raiders should watch Cal linebacker Evan Weaver in the 2019 RedBox Bowl on Monday.
Evan Weaver, LB, Cal
Weaver, 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, is a tackling machine. He set Cal's 34-year-old single-season tackles record this year as he enters Monday with 172. Weaver also ranks fourth in school history with 398 total tackles over his four-year career.
Weaver came to Cal as a three-star defensive end. He played on the D-line as a freshman before moving to inside linebacker as a sophomore. But he truly broke out as a junior when he recorded 155 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two interceptions and six passes defensed.
Oh, hello. Evan Weaver laying the wood vs BYU. One of the top LBs in the Pac-12 and a name to watch in the 2020 NFL Draft. pic.twitter.com/YK5JVK9oCI— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) May 4, 2019
While he lacks top-end speed, Weaver is an extremely smart football player and is constantly moving downhill with his nose sniffing out the ball. As a former defensive end, he knows how to use his hands and knows how to navigate through a pile of blockers.
The Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine will be huge for Weaver. If he has a big week in front of NFL coaches in Mobile, Ala., and then tears up the combine, Weaver could move up draft boards. If not, his stock could slide.
The Raiders have three third-round draft picks this upcoming April. Even if the Raiders target a linebacker with one of their two first-round selections, Weaver seems like a player who could come in and help a Raiders defense that ranked 24th in points allowed per game at 26.2.
This is a high-floor player who was a captain for the Cal Bears. The Raiders need both players who could help on the field and in the locker room. Weaver might end up being a steal in the draft, much like Maxx Crosby was this year for the Silver and Black.