Photo of Derek Rivers
Drafted By: Patriots
  • Round 3
  • Pick 19
  • Overall 83

Combine Results

Grade
5.55 ?
  • 4.61 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 30 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 35.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 123.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 6.94 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.40 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 12.43 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"Derek Rivers can get to the quarterback. I thought he was best suited to play 3-4 outside linebacker. What coach Bill Belichick likes is versatility in players. He can stand up off the ball as an inside linebacker and in sub-packages kick down." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'4" Height
  • 32 3/4" Arm Length
  • 248LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/8" Hands

Overview

Unlike his teammate, Avery Moss, Rivers started and ended his career with Youngstown, starring as a first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection each of the past three seasons. He spent a semester at Fork Union Military Academy first, as many east coast college hopefuls do instead of redshirting, then moved into a reserve role on defense for the Penguins in 2013 (13 tackles, three for loss, 2.5 sacks). The next season, he started to terrorize quarterbacks, making 50 tackles, 17 for loss, and 14 sacks (tied for fifth in the FCS) in 12 games. Rivers played defensive end and linebacker as a junior (52 tackles, 15.5 for loss, eight sacks) and then really turned it on with Moss across the way in 2016. He was a third-team Associated Press FCS All-American as a senior with 58 tackles, 19.5 for loss, and 14 sacks, which ranked second in the nation.

Analysis

Strengths

Consistent, high-level production as a starter. Plays the same way from snap to snap and plays with high football character. Strikes with quick upward punch under tackle's shoulders to stake a leverage claim on the edge. Good burst out of stance as pass rusher. Rushes with lean and dips low to propel himself around the edge at his fourth step. Creates speed-to-power push with a second gear into contract. Works to uncover outside shoulder and spill play-side runs to the boundary. Adequate power for stand-up linebacker on next level. Flashes disruptive qualities in gaps. Adequate pursuit speed.

Weaknesses

Needs to play with better gap awareness after setting edge. Plays with head down after contact and loses sight of the running backs. Slow to disengage and make plays on running backs darting into the B-gap. Has problems when matched up against length. Long arms can grind his pass rush into neutral and engulf him in run game. Will need to improve at the point of attack to play on the next level. Tight-hipped in his rush. Lacks fluidity to string moves together.

Draft Projection

Round 2-3

Bottom Line

Motor-based edge rusher with some tightness in his hips who used efficient hands and consistent effort to whip the competition in front of him. Rivers may lack the length and agility to be a consistent, stand-up rusher on the next level, but he has the talent to find a spot as a backup who could work his way into a more prominent role with time.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

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