Patriots Take Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers With 83rd Pick

Taylor McCloud — Pats Militia

The first two nights of the Draft have been treacherous for your boy. I spent all of Thursday night terrified that Belichick would deal Malcolm Butler for something crazy. Then, after sitting through what seemed like a million picks waiting for the Pats to go on the clock, they traded down from #72 to #83 and made the wait even longer.

But, pick #83 finally came around, and the Patriots did not disappoint.

After having the greatest offseason in team history, only one position remained unaddressed: defensive end. And, what do you know? With their first pick in the draft, the Patriots selected a defensive end. Funny how things always seem to work out in New England, huh?

Derek Rivers is an FCS Third Team All-American defensive end. He played his college ball at Youngstown State University and I’ll admit, I had never heard of him until last night. However, after doing some research, I am confident the Pats hit a homerun with this pick.

In his four years at Youngstown State, Rivers racked up 37.5 sacks, 14 of which came in his senior season, a number good for the second in the nation. He fights hard at the line of the scrimmage and gets after the quarterback.

And, his size will give him some versatility within the Patriots’ defense. At 6’5”, Rivers is certainly tall enough to play defensive end and impede throwing lanes of quarterbacks when he’s coming off the edge. At only 248 pounds, though, he is relatively light for the defensive end position.

However, as many Patriots’ edge guys do, Rivers can play some linebacker. In his junior season, he split time between DE and LB, and was still productive in both the tackle (52) and sack (8) departments. What position he plays and what he actually brings to the Pats is to be seen, but any addition to the team’s defense is a good one in my book.

For almost the entire 2016-17 season, I complained about the Patriots’ lack of pass rush. Game after game, the team struggled to get after the quarterback. Trey Flowers came on strong towards the end of the season, but he was the only one. Rivers will be presented with the opportunity to change that. He, along with Kony Ealy and Geneo Grissom, should be able to compete for the role as Flowers’ partner-in-crime.

Go Pats.

P.S. Derek Rivers already loves Bill Belichick. 

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