Post Draft Scouting Report: Derek Rivers, Edge

With their first pick in the NFL Draft, the Patriots addressed their biggest need with a small school guy.

NEPD Staff Writer: Mike Gerken

Well, another NFL draft has come and gone. All that time watching tape and writing reports all comes down to four players. Was it worth it? Absolutely!!! I love the process and this year it seemed to pay off from a personal standpoint. I correctly identified all 4 drafted players as well as 7 of the undrafted players in my Big Board series (all are still available to go back and read if interested). Not only am I really excited for the players they drafted, but a couple of the undrafted guys really excite me and I think have a legitimate shot to make the team. After last year’s draft, where I clearly was not on the same page as the team, this year gave me a boost of confidence in my assessment of the Patriots needs and players they might be interested in. Over the next few weeks, I will be doing an in depth review of the drafted players as well as a few of the undrafted guys that intrigue me. First up, we look at the Patriots first pick, Derek Rivers.

Name: Derek Rivers

School: Youngstown State

Drafted: 3rd Round (#83 overall)

First off, here is what I wrote about him in my big board series:

Derek Rivers, Youngstown State (6’4″, 248 Lbs): Rivers has excellent athletic traits for the position. He has good lower body explosion to burst out of his stance quickly. He is an easy mover with good flexibility in his lower half to bend the edge. He has very active hands and he uses them to his advantage. He displays a variety of pass rush moves that will serve him well in the NFL. Rivers plays with good awareness and discipline and is a reliable tackler. Rivers needs to continue to develop his strength. He struggles with power and can be moved when his opponent gets locked on. He seems a hair late at the snap. It could be he needs to work on anticipating things better or he is just a split second slow to process things. Obviously, there will be a jump in competition and he may need some time to adjust to the quickness of the game. Grade: 2nd/3rd round

I went back and watched Rivers again last night and here are some additional notes:

I wrote that he can be a hair late at the snap the first time I scouted him, but I think that has more to do with responsibility. After doing some research, he played in the same system as Danielle Hunter, a former Edge player from LSU and now with the Vikings. Many people had the same issue with him, but he has been very successful in the NFL. In clear pass rush situations, Rivers showed an electric first step. He covers a lot of ground quickly and has fantastic lower body bend and change of direction. He can flatten the edge and has the ability to get low while still getting after the QB. One thing that I noticed on the rewatch is that he does not have an inside pass rush move. He always goes to the outside shoulder of the Tackle. He has the talent to make it work, even at the NFL level, but he needs to add a inside spin or an arm over to get to the inside. It is there for the taking, he gets Tackles over pursuing, creating huge gaps to the inside and a much more direct shot at the QB. If he can develop that move, he could become an elite pass rusher in the NFL.  He does a great job of extending his arms and creating leverage, but he does not have the hand strength to disengage. The other thing I noticed is that he shows the proper leverage and lower body strength to set the edge, but he doesn’t really know how to move his player correctly. It is almost like he is playing the individual rather than playing the situation and forgets to turn his opponent and force the play back inside. He wins from a physical standpoint, but needs to mentally process what his assignment should be.

From a coverage standpoint, I did not find a lot of tape of him doing it, but from what I did see, he seemed very comfortable doing so. I found a few plays where he was responsible for covering the back in man coverage and he used his speed and fluid movement skills to stick right with them. He also looked smooth in his back pedal and seemed to have good spatial awareness when covering shallow zones. It is obvious he brings some versatility to the football field, which I am sure the Patriots liked about his game. He really does have all the physical and athletic traits to be an elite player in the NFL. He needs some time to develop his game further to become that player, but even right now, he has the talent to contribute right away as a pass rush specialist. I am really excited about this pick and can’t wait to see what he can do this year and beyond.

Post Draft Grade: A+


35 Responses to “Post Draft Scouting Report: Derek Rivers, Edge”

  1. Stephen J says:

    Evan Lazar highlighting a few plays by Gillislee

  2. Stephen J says:

    Is Harvey Langi what Steve Beauharnais was suppose to be.

    Steve Beauharnais was a 7th round draft pick in 2013. While Harvey was undrafted but paid like a 6th rounder.

    Now stylistically it’s hard to say. Langi has been all over the place RB,DE,LB.

    Now athletically let’s take a look

    Steve Beauharnais…………..Harvey Langi
    240 lbs………………………….251 lbs
    32 3/4″……..Arm Length……32 7/8″
    4.67(Pro Day)…40……………4.66(Pro Day)
    1.61…………10 Yard Split…..1.65
    4.20…………20 Shuttle……..4.45
    6.99………..3 Cone…………..7.00
    11.95……….60 Shuttle……..11.83

    From an athletic stand point they are nearly identical from a physical standpoint Langi is about an inch taller and 11 pounds heavier which if he were playing ILB is more beneficial. So him being bigger and yet still having the same athleticism bodes well in that regards.
    Remember Steve Beauharnais played mostly special teams his 1st year. Then in a preseason game in 2014 he started at ILB next to Jamie Collins ( )
    Is that the path that Harvey Langi takes. If history is any indicator it may very well be.

  3. Stephen J says:

    PFF Had Jacob Hollister as the 4th rated Receiving TE in the draft shown here

    Just right behind (2)Gerald Everett and (3)David Njoku. Now Hollister to me compares or is more similar to Everett scheme athletic wise. Now I did an athletic comparison between the two.

    Gerald Everett…………………Jacob Hollister
    239 lbs…………………………..239 lbs
    1.61…………10 Yard Split……1.62
    37 1/2″……..Vertical………….36 1/2″
    4.33…………20 Shuttle………4.34
    6.99…………3 Cone…………..7.12

    Here is PFF scouting report on Hollister

    In that Scouting Report you can see his Player Comparison is Julius Thomas.

    Now could that be why Jacob Hollister was heavily sought after undrafted free agent. The Pats may have the steal of the draft.

    • Stephen J says:

      Rich Hill tweeted this out about Hollister

      Patriots UDFA TE Jacob Hollister received $90,000 guaranteed.

      For comparison, 2016 7th round WR Devin Lucien received $85,412 guaranteed.

      Essentially this years 7th round pick snagged as a Undrafted Free Agent.

      • macspak says:

        though it makes one wonder why not drafted in first place????

        those are wicked close measurables

        • Stephen J says:

          With Jacob Hollister he doesn’t break that many tackles, he trips himself up by his foot work and by being off balance which could come the foot work. He was able to create separation even with that in college but in the Pro’s he needs to clean that up and make sharper breaks/cuts. Most of his long gains came from being able to gain separation. His blocking could use a lot of work. Most likely he will never be a good/great blocker but he can be placed in situations where he can be good enough.

    • Stephen J says:

      Here is 2 video clip plays of Hollister. The one I am referencing here is the 2nd one.

      Hollister lines up as an Hback to the right of the QB runs a route then makes a catch and runs it in for a TD.

    • Stephen J says:

      Here are several video clip plays of Holliser

    • Stephen J says:

      Jacob Hollister hurdles defensive player attempting to make a stop.

  4. Jeff says:

    Well, time to start imagining what the opening day roster might look like. Lots of depth – I’d expect everyone below to be able to make a significant contribution on game day, with possible exceptions of Brisset (3rd on the depth chart) and Cyrus Jones (can he turn things around?). Of course it’s too early to know how the UDFAs turn out, training camp injuries, etc., but the exercise shows the potential of this year’s squad.

    OL (8): Solder, Thuney, Andrews, Mason, Cannon, Garcia, Fleming, Karras (PS: McDermott, Barker, King)
    QB (3): Brady, Garapollo, Brissett
    RB (4): Gillislee, White, Burkhead, Lewis (PS: Foster)
    FB (1): Develin
    TE (4): Gronkowski, Allen, Williams, O’Shaughnessy (PS: Hollister)
    WR (6): Cooks, Edelman, Hogan, Mitchell, Amendola, Slater (PS: Carr)

    DE (5): Flowers, Ealy, Ninkovich, Rivers, Wise Jr.
    DT (5): Branch, Brown, Guy, Valentine, Hamilton (PS: Augusta)
    LB (5): Hightower, McClellin, Van Noy, Roberts, King (PS: Langi)
    CB (5): Butler, Gilmore, Rowe, C. Jones, J. Jones (PS: Killings)
    S (4): McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Ebner (PS: Travis)

    ST (3): Gostkowski, Allen, Cardona

    • Ryan says:

      I’ve got to say that I disagree with you; I think that there will be at least two UDFAs on the final roster. My two guesses right now would be Langi and Rich, but I think that Thompson, Carr, Augusta, Hollister and Moore all have a chance. I wouldn’t be surprised if 3-4 guys made it in the end.

  5. Stephen J says:

    DJ Killings

    In an article written by the Orlando Sentinel at UCF’s Pro Day there was one paragraph that stood out

    “D.J. is a genius in the (film)room,” Shaquill Griffin said. “To me, that’s who led our room. That’s the person I went to. When I didn’t know something I’m going to D.J. first. And that’s what he brings to a team. Nobody knows just how smart he is and D.J. is going to work. He doesn’t like getting beat and that’s the reason why I stuck with him since our freshman year.”

    Here is a nice pass defense to save a TD

    • Stephen J says:

      DJ Killings Pro Day Results

      187 lbs
      1.56……10 Yard Split
      37 1/2″..Vertical
      4.21…….20 Shuttle
      6.97…….3 Cone

      • GM-In-Training says:

        So, not as agile as Justin Coleman, but otherwise physically similar and maybe more savvy?

        • Stephen J says:

          Good question not sure of Coleman’s savyness but he does have more experience in the Pats system. As far as athleticism Coleman tested better agility wise(20 Shuttle and 3 Cone). While Killings is slightly stronger.

          Justin Coleman
          185 lbs
          1.54……10 Yard Split
          37 1/2″..Vertical
          3.98…..20 Shuttle
          6.61…..3 Cone

        • Stephen J says:

          One thing to note Killings mostly played outside right corner at UCF.

        • Stephen J says:

          Another thing to note while watching Killings I noticed several times he was the communicator in the back field and made adjustments to plays as they changed or became more evident.

    • Stephen J says:

      Here is his Bio while at UCF including some HS info.

    • Stephen J says:

      A Scouting Report by Draft Analyst

  6. Stephen J says:

    Here is another breakdown of Derek Rivers good and bad using video clips.

  7. Stephen J says:

    Kenny Moore of Valdosta St played in the Tropical Bowl and led the National(Red) Team with 4 tackles 2 for loss for 10 yards. He played Safety in that game. A small step up in competition.

    and in case you missed it here is his Regional Combine/Pro Day results

  8. Todti says:

    Mike, I saw that you identified all 4 of the draft picks and was really happy. But the UDFAs are the icing on the cake. Brilliant job! I really like the draft and your comments over the last couple of days gave me even more confidence in this rookie class.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      Thanks! Definitely one of my better years for sure. I needed it after the horrific job I did last year. Hopefully this will keep you all coming back to read what I have to say.

  9. GM-In-Training says:

    Those are really short arms for an Edge guy. Trey Flowers, he is not. He seems to move really well, though.

    Maybe he’s destined for OLB?

    • Stephen J says:

      Rob Ninkovich’s arm length is only 31″

      Located in Agility Tests section

    • Mike Gerken says:

      That arm length is not bad at all. Plus, if you watch, he uses them really well. He locates his hands well and gets his arms extended quickly, creating good spacing between him and his opponent.

      • Ryan says:

        For reference, Derek Barnett and Charles Harris have shorter arms (just over 32″) and both went in the first round. Barnett in particular was considered the consensus number 2 defensive end in the draft class. While Rivers’ arms are slightly on the shorter side, it’s certainly nothing significant.

  10. EdgeX says:

    Also…I can already hear some announcer during pre-season say “D.J. Killings is KILLING IT out there tonight!”

    Mark my words it’s going to happen.

    Who’s ready for the season to start now?!!

  11. EdgeX says:

    So I take it from your intro paragraph you think Austin Carr is going to be the next Edelman – am i rite?? 😛

    • steve earle says:

      Always room for another Edelman on the team. With Cooks threatening deep potential every snap and hopefully a healthy Gronk this could be a record breaking year again.

    • Todti says:

      I really like the Carr signing. I think he could indeed be a long-term slot guy and one of Amendola and Edelman will probably not be on the roster next season.

    • Mike Gerken says:

      He wins in the same way Edelman does. He seems to have the same tempermant on the field to. One of those guys who is always out to prove everyone wrong. It is a crowded position and he may struggle to make the team, but if he can get the freshman flu or somehow sneak through to the practice squad, I think he has long term potential.

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