Derek Rivers – OLB/Defensive End – Youngstown State
Height – 6’4
Weight – 250 lbs
Rivers is one of those guys that when you watch his tape you find few holes in his game. His speed, his power, his off the ball explosion is all insanely talented. Rivers has one of the best first steps out of any prospect entering the draft. Rivers consistently explodes off the ball, uses his speed to get around, dip under the tackle and sack the Quarterback. Rivers has a impressively strong upper body for being a “tweener”. Can bend to shorten his path to the Quarterback or can bull rush you straight back into the Quarterbacks lap. Motor runs from start of play to finish. Good hand technique to fight off blocks. Finishes at the Quarterback and doesn’t allow him to escape once he gets his hands on him. Production was great throughout his career at YSU.
Fits the “tweener” narrative though some don’t consider that a bad thing. Lacks ideal size to be able to hold up as a true 4-3 defensive end. Quick and explosive but can play with tightness in his hips. Has the tendency to lounge at ball carriers with upper body instead of wrapping up and tackling.
Derek Rivers is the exactly what you want in a speed rusher. First step explosion, ability to fight off blockers with good hand technique, and a guy who can bend to set the edge are all the ways Rivers can win. Played mainly on the left side at YSU but will likely make his money on the right side at the next level. Plays with an impressive amount of upper body strength that allows him to add a bull rush to his tool set as well along with his speed moves. If not for the “small school” knock Derek Rivers skill set screams “first round”.