Derek Rivers, DE

School: Youngstown State  |  Conference: GATE
College Experience: Senior  |  Hometown: Kinston, NC
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 248 lbs.
Projected Ranking
OverallPositionProj. Rnd.

Player Lowdown

Combine Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.61--30 35---
Workout Results
40 Yd 20 Yd 10 Yd 225 Bench Vertical jump Broad Shuttle 3-Cone Drill
4.61--30 3510'3"--

Player Overview

A three-year starter at Youngstown State, Rivers lined up at left defensive end in Bo Pelini's four-man front and holds the Penguins program career sack record by a wide margin (41 - 19 more than No. 2 on the list). After attending Fork Union Military Academy in 2012 to get his grades in order, Rivers was a sub-package rusher as a true freshman, recording 13 tackles and three sacks in 2013. He became a sophomore starter in 2014 and posted a team-best 17.0 tackles for loss and 14.0 sacks to earn First Team All-MVFC honors. Rivers started all 11 games in 2015 as a junior and recorded 52 tackles, 15.5 tackles for loss and 9.0 sacks, again taking home First Team All-MVFC honors. He had his best season as a senior in 2016 with 58 tackles, 19.5 tackles for loss and 15.0 sacks, helping lead the Penguins to the FCS National Title Game (lost to James Madison). Rivers earned First Team All-MVFC for the third straight season and was named a Second Team FCS All-American.

Rivers has outstanding natural burst and arc quickness to attack the corner, working through the outside shoulder of blockers. Although he uses his combination of bend and balance to work through contact as a pass rusher, his lack of ideal core power and shed skills will show in the run game. An athletic one-gap upfield penetrator, Rivers has occasional struggles vs. the run that could limit his pro ceiling, but his pass rush skills are NFL worthy, ideally suited as an edge rusher in a 3-4 scheme.

Strengths Weaknesses

STRENGTHS: Flexible athlete with natural bend to dip around the corner. Easy burst off the edge. Extends with a quick punch to engage and create spacing while maintaining his balance and low pad level. Uses his hands well to fend off counter jabs, showing various snatch and rip techniques. Flashes the ability to convert speed to power in his pass rush. Moves well laterally to sidestep blockers. Alert run defender to keep contain and string plays outside. Strong hands/wrists to finish tackles. Has worked hard to max out his frame. Senior captain and productive three-year starter with 56.5 tackles for loss in 37 career starts - his 41.0 career sacks is best all-time in YSU and MVFC history.

WEAKNESSES: Slightly undersized frame and lacks ideal length. Doesn't have the upper body power to press blockers off his frame and can be engulfed by wide-based blockers. Tends to get lost on inside runs and can be sealed from lanes. Struggles to anchor vs. power and can be taken out of the play. Requires a half-second to reset his eyes vs. the run when required to start/stop. Initial burst isn't an issue, but often late off the snap and needs to improve his anticipation. Room to expand his pass rush moves to keep blockers guessing. Lacks ideal experience against top competition - only three career starts vs. FBS competition (six tackles, two sacks).

--Dane Brugler (2/5/17)

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