NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans completed their sixth NFL Draft under Jon Robinson as General Manager on Sunday. Eight players currently make up the team’s 2021 class.
It took two days for one of those selections, Rashad Weaver, to blow up in Tennessee’s face.
All eyes were on Robinson given how gigantic a failure his 2020 first round pick Isaiah Wilson was. The Titans scouting process was allegedly reevaluated. A semi-normal offseason with the Senior Bowl and pro days allowed Robinson, coach Mike Vrabel and their staffs more opportunities to interact with players.
Still, a simple assault charge against Weaver stemming from an April 18th incident slipped through the cracks.
The Titans have a logical excuse
Unfortunately for them, it does not matter.
Based on the timeline of events, it is completely reasonable that Tennessee could have had insufficient time to discover Weaver’s incident before drafting him. Without him or his representation being forthright, the strategy seems to have been to get Weaver drafted as high as possible and hope the information never came to light.
According to the report, police officers found a woman lying on the ground surrounded by a group of people at 2:28 a.m in Pittsburgh. Conflicting accounts of what took place have one witness accusing Weaver of punching the woman.
Pittsburgh police recounted the incident in an assault report filed by the victim on April 20, saying that Weaver “grabbed her by the throat and pushed her to the ground, where she ultimately hit her head.” The criminal complaint against Weaver, 23, materialized in Pittsburgh’s magisterial district court on April 30.
On May 1, Weaver was taken with the 135th pick in the NFL Draft by the Titans.
According to a multiple sources, the complaint was filed about an hour before Rounds 2 and 3 of the Draft began on Friday night at 6 PM CT. Weaver was selected at 12:41 PM on Saturday in Round 4. The window for discovery by Tennessee is small and could have been understandably missed under normal circumstances.
But, for the Titans and Robinson, this Draft was not a normal state of affairs. Optics may matter less internally, but botching last year’s first round so badly removes any benefit of the doubt.
Especially when the player in question “stated to other officers on scene that he had no problem hitting a female if they needed it,” according to the complaint.
Other teams claim to know about Weaver’s incident
Paul Kuharsky spoke with five scouts with other NFL teams about Weaver’s simple assault charge. Three of the five claimed that they had heard about it prior to the Draft.
Tennessee put out a statement Monday afternoon saying that they “were made aware of this news this morning. We obviously take this seriously and are in the process of gathering details and working with the league.”
The results of the Titans’ information gathering process remain internal at this point.
12 days between the incident and the complaint being filed is an eternity. Either the Tennessee scouts tasked witch checkin in on Weaver failed to do their due diligence or simply were not asking the right questions in follow-ups.
It should also be noted, fresh off the NFL Draft smokescreens, that scouts lie all the time when given anonymity. Kuharsky would not have knowingly published something he believed to be false and there are clearly flaws in the Titans pre-draft process. But, consideration should be given to whom most benefits by further painting Tennessee in a negative light.
We are not that far removed from anonymous NFL personnel lambasting Tennessee during their COVID outbreak. No one in Nashville will forget Mike Florio parroting information that “someone who has a very high position with one of the other teams” suggested Vrabel and Robinson would each be suspended for the rest of the season.
We are all still awaiting the league’s demand of the Titans forfeiting a first-round draft pick and paying out a $10 million fine.
Tennessee is guilty in the court of public opinion. Justifiably so. The optics are horrendous. The offense by Weaver, if he is proven to be guilty, even more so.
Like any story, though, there are layers. This one has several more that need peeling through.
Featured Image: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.