Drew Boylhart December 2007
Keith Rivers   LB   USC

Keith has good size and speed to be an excellent OLB at the next level.  He is a head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive type tackler who has the athleticism to play any of the LB positions.  He shows leadership qualities and loves to make the big play.  Keith is an excellent all around football player.  His best attribute is his burst to the ball.  He shows great quickness to change direction, has excellent cover skills and can rush the passer with the best of them.  Keith is a perfect fit for the cover two defense that requires the MLB, on passing downs, to have the athleticism to cover the middle of the field with quick cover skills.

Keith is not a meet, greet and shed LB, against the run.  He will need some big boys up front to allow him to run to the ball and make plays.  He lacks the lower body strength and his body type does not lend itself to adding any more strength than he has right now.  To summarize, he does not have enough junk in his trunk!

Keith reminds me a lot of Jonathan Vilma (LB New Jersey Jets) and Takeo Spikes (Philadelphia Eagles).  Like Jonathan & Takeo, Keith’s impact position at the next level will be as a weak side OLB in a 4-3 defense.  He will impact if a team that uses this system drafts him but I suspect, like Vilma & Spikes, he will be less impacting in a 3-4 defense.  Taking on big offensive guards in the running game is not Keith’s strength.  He can get swallowed up really easy and neutralized when he gets leaned on by those types of players that are the size of more than one human being.  I can see some teams who play a 4-3 cover two system, looking at Keith as a possible middle LB.  The teams with big boys up front like the Ravens and Panthers might be looking really hard at Keith because he is such a strong tackler, takes good angles and does a solid job on passing downs.  It makes sense for those teams to rate Keith maybe a little higher than some others.  However, make no mistake, Keith has first round talent and all teams should be looking at him at some point in the first round.  I call him Keith (Passing Down) River because passing downs are the downs that will show off his abilities to impact.