2017 NFL Draft Kansas City Chiefs Scouting Report: Derek Rivers

Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Derek Rivers. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs draft prospect Derek Rivers. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

If the Kansas City Chiefs are pursuing a pass rusher in the draft, Derek Rivers may be an ideal fit who is generating a lot of buzz.

The Kansas City Chiefs have shown a surprising amount of interest in pass rushers in the upcoming draft. The team clearly feels the need to supplement their current crop of edge rushers. Derek Rivers from Youngstown State is quickly becoming one of the hottest names for pass rushers in the 2017 NFL Draft.

It is not a stretch to say that the Chiefs pass rush was a let down in 2016. Justin Houston was dealing with injuries, Tamba Hali was dealing with age, and Dee Ford was dealing with still not developing. All in all, it left the Chiefs defense in a bit of a hole where they were having to make tough adjustments.

At some point, we have to ask the question of whether or not Dee Ford is going to stick around with the team. Apart from a stretch of five games last year, he has not been the player he was advertised to be. That has to have John Dorsey thinking. We also know that retirement can’t be far off for Tamba Hali. That is another issue that will have to be addressed.

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Pass rushers are way too expensive to add in Free Agency, so the best way to find one is in the draft. Fortunately, this is a very good year to be looking for someone to get after the passer. Draft analysts are practically drooling over this year’s crop of edge rushers. If the Chiefs decide to help boost the position, there should be no issue in scoring a good player.

Derek Rivers – OLB – Youngstown State

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If you are talking about small school prospects, the hottest name out there is probably Derek Rivers. The Youngstown State pass rusher has been destroying every single bit of competition put in front of him. If there is a player rising faster on draft analyst boards, I don’t know who it is.

The athleticism of Derek Rivers stands out immediately. He brings a high motor to the field and plays with a consistent level of intensity throughout the game. Strong first step with the speed to get upfield. Has the strength to move a blocker out of his way, especially coming off of a speed move. Shows some promising pass rush maneuvers for the next level.

Derek Rivers does have some warts to his game. He got away with some bad technique due to being a superior athlete. Can often get lost on the play, and has a tendency to be one-track in his play. Doesn’t engage and disengage quickly with his blockers, choosing to try and beat them purely with speed or power.

The ceiling on Derek Rivers is phenomenal. If he can shape his overall game to match his impressive athleticism, he could be very good in the NFL. However, this is going to take some time and some coaching. The Chiefs are in a position where they have some time and some coaching to utilize, so Derek Rivers could make a lot of sense as a day two pick.

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The Kansas City Chiefs may very well be in need of retooling their pass rusher unit. Adding a high motor player like Derek Rivers could be a big step in that direction. There are definitely some similarities between Rivers and how Tamba Hali looked as a prospect coming out of Penn State.