Linebacker once again fails to crack Cardinals 53-man roster

(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Evan Weaver
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) Evan Weaver /

Former University of California star Evan Weaver has once again come up short in his bid to earn a spot with the Arizona Cardinals.

The Arizona Cardinals thought they got a steal back in 2020 when they landed a First-Team All-American during the sixth round of the NFL Draft.

Evan Weaver, an inside linebacker out of the University of California, was also the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2019. Arizona’s front office couldn’t help but feel lucky when they grabbed the productive youngster with the draft’s 202nd-overall selection.

Now, 16 months after that acquisition, Weaver has been released by the Cardinals for the second-consecutive offseason. The 23-year-old, one of 10 cuts by the club on Monday, has once again failed to convince the coaching staff that he deserves a spot on the team’s regular-season roster. Where has Weaver come up short in his bid to be one of the 53 players who’ll be with the Redbirds in 2021?

Inside linebacker got caught up in a numbers game with the Arizona Cardinals

Weaver was facing an uphill battle to earn a job with the franchise from the moment he arrived in the desert. The past two years, Arizona has been absolutely stacked at the inside linebacker spot. Ahead of Weaver on the depth chart in 2020 were the likes of Jordan Hicks, De’Vondre Campbell, Tanner Vallejo, Ezekiel Turner, and first-round pick Isaiah Simmons.

This past April, Arizona added yet another inside linebacker to the mix when they acquired the University of Tulsa’s Zaven Collins during the draft’s opening round. Campbell is gone (the free agent signed with the Green Bay Packers), but Simmons, Hicks, Vallejo, and Turner are still with the organization. The Cardinals obviously weren’t going to move forward with six inside linebackers on the roster.

The Cards kept Weaver around in September of 2020 when they signed him to the club’s practice squad. There’s always a possibility that it can happen again if the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder clears waivers in the next couple of days.

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Weaver was an absolute tackling machine in college. During his junior and senior campaigns at Cal, the Washington state native racked up an eye-popping 336 tackles in 26 games for the Bears. Weaver certainly has the potential to have an impact somewhere in the NFL, but it no longer looks like it’s going to happen with Arizona.