Rookie Spotlight: Mike Weber, Ohio St.
Height: 5’10’’ (official)
Weight: 211 lbs (official)
Hands: 9 3/8” (official)
Arm: 29 3/4” (official)
40 yard dash: 4.47 (official)
NFL Comparison: Mark Walton, Damien Williams
– stays on feet after contact
– good vision
– versatile player
– excellent straight line speed
– not very explosive
Scouting Notes: Weber is like a pinball on the field, at least after first contact, careening off defenders to change direction and cutting back across the field. He’s got a low center of gravity and nimble feet that assist his natural balance when making cutbacks, so he moves efficiently even though he lacks explosion. He’s generally a one cut and up runner who sees the field quickly and clearly, striking his holes and scurrying upfield. Weber was a highly touted recruit who won Freshman of the Year honors his first year at OSU, racking up over 1,000 yards and 9 TDs that season. Although he was replaced as Ohio’s go-to back in 2017 after injuring his arm and hamstring, he was able to provide versatility to the OSU backfield in his 2018 campaign, catching 21 passes(112 yards, 1 TD) in addition to putting up 954 yards and 5 TDs on the ground with a 5.5 YPC average. Weber is a capable pass-blocker too, thanks again to his good balance and stout build. Overall, Weber projects to be a complimentary back who can be utilized in multiple facets of the game.
Fantasy Outlook: Weber’s 4.47 40 time at the Combine was 3rd best for RBs and surprised a lot of people who hadn’t seen that kind of speed in his tape. It will boost his stock, but game speed is what counts, and Weber doesn’t pop like that on field much of the time.
Weber doesn’t seem to fit the role of a starting back, but he’s the kind of guy who can take over a drive or step in and be productive if an injury occurs, a la Damien Williams. As far as fantasy purposes go, he seems more like an inconsistent PPR asset, with his pass-catching ability. In dynasty, He’s more of a 2nd tier prospect, who can put together decent outings under the right conditions.
Weber came to Ohio State a consensus 4-star prospect who rushed for 2,268 yards and 29 touchdowns as a senior in 2014 despite missing three games for coach Thomas Wilcher’s state semifinalist squad … he averaged 10.1 yards per carry and Wilcher called him the best back in the Detroit Public School League in the last 30 years … was considered a Top 100 player nationally, with high overall rankings of No. 69 by Scout, No. 71 by Rivals, No. 80 by 247Sports and with a 140 rank on the ESPN 300 … considered the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan (Scout) and considered a Top 10 running back nationally by Rivals (No. 8), Scout (No. 9) and 247Sports (No. 9) … a first-team Associated Press all-state honoree as a senior and was twice named the Proud Strong Learner of the Week in the DPSL … rushed for a state record 404 yards and five touchdowns in a regional championship win over Clinton Township Chippewa Valley … rushed for 890 yards and 13 touchdowns in Cass Tech’s four-game run through the state playoffs in 2014 … a finalist for the Michigan state player of the year award and a co-recipient of the Detroit player of the year award … a U.S. Army All-American … parents are Toni and Mike Weber Sr.
Quotes from the Combine
(Initial impressions, what have you done?)
We did a lot of meetings, get-togethers, how things work here, lot of interviews with coaches, different coaches and been on our feet a lot, a lot of muscle testing, a lot of pulling and grabbing so far, ready to show my talents.
(What have you done to train for this?)
Worked on my 40, 225 test, my speed and agility, everything that comes, even my testing with the running back, everything comes into play. Everything that we’ve worked on here I’ve been working on.
(What are you going to run in the 40?)
I’m expecting to run a really good 40.
(What do you want teams to know about you?)
I’m being a little slept on right now and that’s something I can’t control. All I can control is to come out here and give it my best and show these teams why I should be at the top.
(What don’t people know about you?)
My ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. I didn’t get thrown to too much at Ohio State. I can show that. I can show the speed. My cutting ability, the whole 9.
(Don’t you always feel like people are sleeping on you?)
I don’t know why, but, like I said, it’s something I can’t control. All I can control is what I do.
(Where do you get impression that people are discounting you?)
I see it everywhere. It’s hard not to see it. That’s my last concern right now. My main concern is to prove people wrong.
(Could it be because you shared time?)
It could be. That could be a reason.
(How did your Ohio State career go)
I feel like it went well. I still don’t feel like I played my best, through injuries, through adversity, through not getting the ball sometimes, through different situations. Everything plays a part. I feel like I still have a lot of room to improve and ready to show any team in the meantime.
(What does best Mike Weber look like?)
I’ll say more being a leader, my leadership, just work on my game all the time, there’s always room to improve on and off the field and my job is to continue to get better each day.
(How does a running back get better without pads on?)
You can learn pass protections better, you can get with the O-line. You can get in the playbook deeper. You can learn what everyone else is doing, like the receivers, you can learn audibles before they’re called, you can learn catching the ball, blocking technique, there’s so much things you can learn without pads.
(How will Ohio State replace you?)
It’s Ohio State. Zeke Elliott probably got that question, Carlos Hyde, guys that left already, Ohio State is a workhorse, it’s just a crazy program. They’re going to find someone to replace me.
(How ready is Master Teague to step up?)
Master Teague, he’s a real down-to-Earth, great guy, personally, he’s a hard worker, he’s a freak athlete. Hopefully things work out for him. He should be alright.
(How would you describe him as a runner?)
Violent. At first he wasn’t as violent as he is now. I think Coach Alford did a good job and me, JK and all of us in the room did a good job toughening him up a little bit. That’s the piece that he was missing and he gained that piece and watch out.
(Why did you leave school early?)
I feel like I was ready. I feel like I’ve been through a couple injuries that I didn’t want to face again. I came back to prove a lot of things that I could have done and I did that this past season and I just felt that it’s time. The year before last, I didn’t really feel it, but now, this year, at the end of the season, I felt it and I just left.
(What’s your legacy?)
Someone who came to work every day to work hard. Someone who got better each day, someone who made plays when my number was called. Had my share of mistakes but I always bounced back.
(What advice would you have for OSU this year — JK No. 1 guy?)
You have advantages, disadvantages (to having just one guy). He can beat up, he can get hurt. A lot of teams, even in the NFL, they have two-back, three-back sets and I think it’s better to have more than one back. It helps everyone else out, it keeps guys fresh, there can be plays where you have three or four plays in a row, he’s very tired and he needs someone to come in and run a play for him, different situations, but I’m sure Ohio State will do a good job managing that.
(On whole, was it a plus or minus that you shared time?)
Right now, I think it’s a plus. At the time, you don’t like it. At the time, you want the ball. At the time, you want to be able to show the world what you can do with the opportunities you get, but I feel like a lot of these teams now are looking at guys with less tread on their tires. I think I got the ball 300 times in my career, which is not a lot, a lot of guys get 300 a year and I felt like that was a plus.
(Do you bring that up to teams?)
I think a lot of teams already know. They look at the stats, rushing attempts, carries, the whole nine before they come talk to us. They know that.
(What does Detroit mean to you?)
Detroit, it’s a city, it’s just home. It’s hard to explain. It’s gritty. There’s a lot of people there that’s dedicated and driven to become better people. It’s a city that a lot of people don’t really know the goods of. It’s an upcoming city that I’m really proud to be a part of and I’m proud to say I’m from there. Any chance I get, I get back to that city.
(Is that what you see in yourself?)
I think growing up in Detroit played a big part in how I play.
(Is there a round you’d like to go?)
Want me to be honest? First round.
You never know. I have no idea. I come out here and control what I can control, sell myself to these teams, show my film, show my pass blocking, my catching, my running, my smartness of the game, even my intangibles off the field, being a good guy and level-headed and making good decisions, all this stuff plays a part in being on an NFL team. Most obviously, show teams that I’m that guy.
(Thought about what it would be like to play for the Lions?)
A lot of people back home mention that a lot of times and I think it would be cool. Anywhere I go would be cool. Detroit, that would be crazy. I played all my high school games in there, all my city championships, all my state championships in that stadium.
(How big of a Lions fan?)
I was a huge Lions fan, but now I’ve got to be an everybody fan right now. But, back in the day, I was a huge Lions fan.
(Sales pitch to teams)
I would say being smart of the game, being able to block and protect the quarterback because a lot of NFL teams are pass-first teams and if you can protect the quarterback you can keep a job and my ability to catch the ball out of the backfield because a lot of guys now are not able to do it. The running takes care of itself. Every running back in the NFL can run the ball, it’s just things that separate you are catching the ball, blocking and protecting the quarterback and durability, all that stuff.
(What did you learn from Coach Alford)
I would say the best thing that Coach Alford taught me at Ohio State was being able to be on the board. All the teams I’ve met with, as far as offenses and knowing what to do, knowing my assignments and who to block and what the line’s doing and this and that, he did a great job of teaching me that because a lot of teams were impressed with how well I handled that.
(What made you realize importance of blocking — probably didn’t do a ton of it in high school)
When I first got there, they always showed old clips of Carlos Hyde and Zeke blocking, pass blocking, and Coach Meyer would come in our meeting room and tell us this is how you’re going to block, this is how it should be, if you can’t block, you can’t get on the field and, as a young guy, you’re like, I want to play so I’ve got to do what I can to play and if this makes them happy, I’ve got to do that to be able to play, so after I started doing it so well, I just fell in love with blocking.
(Did the way you ran the ball last year change with Dwayne Haskins?)
I would say he came up with a lot of runs were just runs last year because a lot times, we had run plays that were RPOs, a lot of pulls, a lot of reads and I feel like Coach ? and Coach Day did a good job of we’re going to run the ball, this is the run play and we’re going to let our guys run it, so that was a big emphasis that he had put on in the offseason and it worked towards the end of the year as far as running the ball.
(Something about running)
As a ballplayer, you’ve got to be able to adjust, even within game. The gameplan could be going on all week and you get in the game and they’re in something totally different. You’ve got to be able to adjust. I feel like they prepared me enough to be able to adjust to any defense that’s in front of me, any circumstance that’s in front of me.
My favorite was inside zone. It’s more of my O-line vs. your D-line, my running backs vs. your linebackers and we’re playing football.
(Thoughts on Michael Jordan)
I think Michael Jordan, he’s a workhorse. He’s a guy that I loved running behind, he’s a guy that led the offensive line that took on a single job full-force and did an excellent job and my hat’s off to him and I hope he does really good here at the combine.
(Do you finetune your game to make sure you can do what you need to in NFL?)
Most definitely. That’s the NFL now. They’re looking for mismatches and getting running backs the ball in the backfield from linebackers and D ends and safeties and I think if you’re able to do that type of stuff, you can play for a lot of teams in the NFL.
(Can you do that?)
(Who’d you play for as a kid?)
Eastside Saints and Eastside Colts.
(Make it back to Detroit? Last time?)
(Keep up with Ohio State guys on Saints roster?)
Yeah, I talk to Marshon, Mike Thomas all those guys a lot. Actually, I talked to Marshon the other day and he was giving me pointers on what I’d be doing at the combine, what to expect, how to take care of my body while I’m here. I lot of them guys always get back to me and I appreciate it a lot.
(How much preparation as far as going out on game day)
Getting physical reps in practice and mental reps. Mental reps is when you’re not even in for that rep, you watch what’s going on and you make your steps and reads as if you were playing to gain more reps and I think the more reps, the more prepared you are and you watch film, you learn the guys ahead of you, you learn your opponents and what they do, their tendencies and you get your reps in and you’re going to get better and that’s one of the things I took on each week at Ohio State.
(Biggest growth from high school to college)
I’ll say pass blocking. I was a decent pass blocker in high school, but I didn’t do it much. When I got to college, I took pride in it and I did a great job of protecting the quarterback in the time I had at Ohio State and that’s something I got a lot better at and also running more football. High school was more inside zone, outside zone, pitch left, pitch right, but college is more schemed to everything and I feel like I learned football a lot more in different aspects of the game and I would say pass blocking and defenses.
(Highest skill attribute rating in Madden)
Madden? I don’t know. I think they go off round you get picked. They update them, though.
Low 4.4s is a great time for me.
(Advice from Marshon Lattimore)
Marshon, he’s given me advice on how the meetings are going to go, how to sleep, where to sleep, how to eat, when to eat, how to get away and prepare for this moment here tomorrow and how to handle myself in interviews. Mike Thomas is always giving pointers throughout the year. His bye week, he came and stayed with me in Columbus. They’re both real good guys. They always took me under their wing even when they were here at Ohio State.
(Made you Saints fans?)
Ohio State got all the Saints players.
(Going against Nick Bosa in practice)
Nick Bosa, hell of a player, man, and hell of a person also. He’s one of my close friends at Ohio State, he’s my workout partner. Cool, laid back guy who comes to work every day and works really hard, extremely talented and it was fun playing with him while it lasted and hopefully, one day, you never know, play with him again.
(Workout partners before he left school or during this process?)
Before he left school for two years.
He gets comfortable around the people he trusts and he gets silly and stuff like that. He’s a good guy.
(Assessment of Zeke)
He’s an all-around back. He can do it all and that’s what teams look for in the NFL, a guy that can carry the load when they ask him to, a guy that can pass block when they ask him to, a guy that can catch the ball out of the backfield. I think the Cowboys do a good job of using him and show his talents and he’s a great player.
(Relationship with Zeke?)
(Has he offered any advice?)
All the time.
(Future of offense under Ryan Day)
I don’t think it will change. I think they’ll continue to run the plays that he’s running and become more forceful when it comes to certain plays, probably open it up a little bit, throw some trick plays in there. Last season he had the offense, so I feel like he’ll just stick to his roots and go with what works.
(See Dwayne Haskins grow up)
It’s absolutely amazing. It’s like having a kid. When he first got here, he was more chunky, chubby, disinterested, guy that can just throw the ball. I think J.T. Barrett did a great job showing him how to lead and showing him the ropes of how to take care of his business on and off the field and everybody in the building knew that he was going to be a great quarterback, he just had to put the things together to become a great quarterback and he did that right in front of our eyes. It was amazing to see.
(Where did you make growth?)
I would say the same way. I just looked at the leaders in front when I first got here, the situations that I have been through in the past, when I first got here, I let that take a toll on me, but I got around the right people to be more disciplined, to come back, to bounce back and become more mature and took it from there.
Just the whole situation of recruitment.