Steelers Pre-Draft Film Room: Edge rusher Derek Rivers

Well, it’s that time again. Time to breakdown potential draft picks for our beloved Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers have plenty of needs heading into this year’s draft. Some needs are more visible than others, like more bodies at outside linebacker and maybe depth for the defensive line. Thankfully, the 2017 NFL Draft has a deep class of edge rushers and defensive linemen.

Let’s take a look at one now:

  • Name: Derek Rivers
  • Height: 6’4″
  • Weight: 248 lbs
  • Arm length: 32 3/4″
  • Hands: 9 3/8″
  • College: YSU
  • Position: Edge-rusher


Although he comes from a small school, Derek Rivers has made his presence known. During his last season at Youngstown State University, Rivers accumulated 14 sacks, 19.5 tackles for loss (95 yards) and 58 total tackles. In the past three seasons, Rivers was selected to be on the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-team. He is also the school’s all-time sacks leader.

But there’s more to Rivers that makes him the stud he is.


Derek Rivers is a versatile player along the defensive line. He’s capable of playing your typical defensive end role, and a 3-4 scheme outside linebacker, setting the “edge” on defense.

Full disclosure: typical isn’t a bad word here. Typical is a good thing when discussing Derek Rivers. He’s quick off the snap and is excellent at using his leverage against offensive linemen to get after the passer. He’s excellent when he’s standing or has his hand in the dirt. He excels at putting his hands on his blocker and driving them back.

Rivers often draws double-teams, which is why he sometimes go unseen during a play. Rivers also excels at man coverage on the running back out of the backfield.


There a lot of “cons” when talking about Derek Rivers. But there are a few: Tends to be slow with the pursuit of running backs on inside run plays. Although he’s stellar at coming off blocks, he does struggle with it a bit, which will need to change at the NFL level.

How’d he fit with the Steelers

Rivers would be an excellent fit in the Steel City. Although you see him get his snaps on the left side, Rivers is capable of playing on the right. Rivers being able to come in and learn under Harrison would benefit him greatly.

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