Derek Rivers

SCB Steelers Draft Journal: EDGE Derek Rivers

Derek Rivers, EDGE, Youngstown State #11

6’4″, 250lbs


What’s to like: Size to play outside linebacker in 3-4 defense, can still add some muscle to his frame. Good bend around the edge and gets low in his break. Quite athletic and can run down plays from behind. Sets the edge with authority and stays to his responsibility. Quick burst out of stance. Often wins with speed to power and shoulder dip. Very smart and violent hand usage to keep offensive tackles off of him. Sharp instincts for diagnosing plays. Takes good pursuit angles on plays run to the opposite side. Keeps leverage in the run game. Has some experience in dropping in coverage, used to be a linebacker.

Concerns: Not the desired length out of a 3-4 outside linebacker. Long armed offensive tackles will give him problems. Played at a lower level of competition, concerns about adjusting. Timing off the snap needs work, inconsistent coming off the ball, sometimes a few seconds late. Has trouble disengaging on power run plays.

Verdict: A 3-4 linebacker at the NFL level. Can perform the three aspects of the position at a high level (Rush the passer, play the run, cover). Comes from a lower level of competition but showed traits that will translate to the next level. High ceiling guy.

2016 Stats: 58 tackles (44 solo), 19.5 TFL, 14 sacks

Grade: 2nd round

Games watched: Illinois State 2016, Northern Iowa 2016, North Dakota State 2015
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Link: All 2017 Steel City Blitz Draft Player Journals

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