DE Derek Rivers, Youngstown St.

6’4” – 248 lbs. – 4.61

Was a reserve/rotational player in his freshman season, then enjoyed three highly productive campaigns to finish his collegiate career. Plays left end on the team’s four-man lines, usually out of a four-point stance but at times standing up like more of a linebacker or putting just one hand in the dirt. Tall with average length and a somewhat thin, narrow build; might not be able to add considerably more bulk than he’s already carrying and consequently may be seen as more of a rush linebacker than a traditional defensive end. Was a productive pass-rusher in college with the athletic traits to potentially make the leap up in level of competition. Some ability to convert speed to power and generate push on passing downs; rushes with more power than his bulk would indicate. Able to use his hands to slap down an opposing blocker’s and get past them. Has an explosive closing burst to finish his rushes. Looks like he can dip his shoulder and bend around the edge a little bit, but doesn’t always have a smooth arc; needs to stop and redirect at times. Needs to develop additional counters to take advantage of situations in which his initial move is unsuccessful; tends to get stuck to blockers. Has some experience carrying backs into the flats from a two-point stance. Does a good job of flowing toward the ball in the run game; could be more disciplined with regard to his gap responsibilities. Can scrape down the line a little bit and create congestion on inside attempts. Has the athleticism to pursue from the backside. Flashes the ability to make tackles while engaged. However, is not overwhelmingly powerful in either his upper or lower bodies; can be washed out of some plays or take himself out of position by attempting to make his way around opposing blockers rather than through them. Doesn’t have the length to prevent opposing linemen from getting into his body. Motor in the run game is underwhelming compared to his work against the pass; limited willingness to chase from the backside when the attempt is in the other direction. A tall, athletic defensive end with the explosiveness to potentially work his way onto the field at the pro level, but who will need to develop additional strength and counters in order to succeed at the pro level, where he won’t be able to run around FCS right tackles but will have to match up against significantly more talented pro tackles. Interesting third or fourth-round developmental project.

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