Name: Derek Rivers
School: Youngstown State
Position fit: Edge
Stats to know: Had a sack, a hit, and a hurry in 14 pass-rushing snaps at the Senior Bowl.
What he does best:
- One of the top athletes in the entire class. Fantastic burst off the line of scrimmage when he gets an obvious pass situation.
- Almost never came off the field for Youngstown State. Played 79 of 83 snaps against West Virginia and all 58 snaps against Eastern Washington.
- Plays with great leverage against the run and as a bull-rusher. Sinks his hips and keeps arms locked out.
- Extremely disciplined against the run. Carried out his assignments almost to a fault at times.
- Has the ability to drop off the line of scrimmage and play in space if need be.
- Level of competition is a serious concern. Wasn’t nearly as productive in Senior Bowl practices as he was at Youngstown St.
- A good deal of pass rushes with no real plan of attack. Runs straight at tackle and engages.
- Too often content ceding ground in the run game. Will lock into the block and almost refuse to make plays outside of his gap.
- Mostly a one-hit pass-rusher. If his initial move is stoned, he has little else in his toolbox.
Player comparison: William Hayes, Miami Dolphins
Rivers loves to counter a lot of his rushes off the bull much like Hayes. The best quality from each is their ability to consistently play with leverage. It took Hayes a while to come into his own which could similarly be the case with Rivers.
Bottom line: There will be one word that follows Rivers around the draft cycle and it’s “upside.” His athletic traits will intrigue every defensive coordinator in the league meaning he won’t last terribly long come draft time. He’s still much more projection than finished product at this point though. If Rivers can improve his down to down consistency, he’ll be a starter in the NFL.