Derek Rivers   ER   Youngstown St  


Derek’s body type and athletic talent were made for the position of OLB/DE in a 3/4 Defense. He has excellent workout numbers and shows the agility to change direction and run down players and is a very good head up, wrap up, squeeze and drive tackler. He is a pure speed rusher and loves to sack the quarterback and with his speed, long arms and long legs he can easily gets into the back field and disrupt, sack or make a tackle for a loss. With his long arms and when he uses the correct run defender techniques, Derek has the strength and ability to become an excellent run defender. But for the purposes of this draft you’re selecting a pure pass rusher who fits a 3/4 Defense and has the “potential” to become a complete OLB/DE if he wants to be more than the specialty player that he is right now for the next level.

The biggest issue for Derek is not the competition aspect most will talk about, it’s the fact that this kid has no idea where the ball is on a running play. He doesn’t understand how to read offensive lineman and their blocking schemes. With his hand on the ground he doesn’t understand if the play is coming at him or away from him. He is clueless on reverses run to his side and as far as getting off blocks and shedding them he seems to struggle when in actuality there is no need for him to struggle. All of this (I believe) is because Derek has his hand on the ground at the snap of the ball on running plays. He can come off the line when pass rushing in either stance but against the run he needs to be standing up.

I don’t think the competition level is that big a deal because of Derek’s perfect blend of size, speed, quickness on the field. Add to that his long legs and arms and the ability to turn the corner and burst off the line and his not understanding and defending against the run game, will not be an issue for a lot of teams. I think standing up on the edge will help him identify what’s happening in the run game and I truly feel that once he is standing up he will show that he has the ability to stretch out plays to his side and will be stout against the run. He has the strength and he is smart and I just think, with his hand down on running plays that he just is not able to react quickly because he is a “see and react” type of player. He needs to look into the back field when he defends and with his hand on the ground playing with a defender right in front of him he just struggles to understand what is happening to him. So they key for Derek in this draft is to be selected by a team that runs a 3/4 defense and needs a pure pass rusher who can develop into a complete OLB/DE. Do you think there are any teams out there that need a players like that? Duh!

Drew Boylhart  MAR.2017