Opportunity May Be Available for Patriots Edge Rusher Derek Rivers

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The New England Patriots drafted edge rusher Derek Rivers in the third round back in 2017.  Injuries have taken its toll on the former Youngstown player and has limited him to only six games over the course of his first three years. 


Photo courtesy of patriotswire.com
Rivers lost his entire rookie season with an ACL injury.  He played sparingly during the 2018 season and last year was hampered by a knee injury which landed him on Injured Reserve for the season. 

While he’s been plagued by injuries, it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for Rivers.  Over the last three seasons while trying to rehab his injuries, Rivers got married and had a child.  Faith keeps pushing Rivers, now he must hope that he’s healthy and for a full NFL season. 

Shop for NFL Gear at Fanatics!The Patriots have some key players on defense that are free agents this offseason.  Rivers is hoping to be in the mix and not completely forgotten as Head Coach Bill Belichick looks to build for next season. 

Kyle Van Noy will become a free agent and should command a relatively decent sized contract that could force his way out of New England.  Rivera could be a potential inexpensive replacement for Van Noy if Belichick believes Rivers can handle the workload. 

Despite all the injuries that have plagued Rivers, he truly is an unknown commodity here in Foxboro. 

Rivers also has an intriguing skill set which made him attractive to Belichick.  Before he was drafted in 2017, at the NFL Combine, he clocked a 4.61 at the 40-yard dash.  He also posted an impressive 6.94 three-done drill.  Those numbers are usually seen from wide receivers and not defensive players. 

The Patriots have been waiting for all his potential to turn into production.  Maybe the injury bug is finally gone and the Patriots can feature Rivers more as an edge rusher if Van Noy leaves during free agency. 

Belichick specifically drafted Rivers as a edge pass rusher.  His explosive speed and strength will be key for Rivers as he gets after the quarterback in 2020.  Rivers should also be able to drop back in coverage as well and play some linebacker when needed. 

“I’m glad we have him,” Belichick said.  “He could be a good player.  I think he is a good player.” 

This is Rivers time to step up and be a regular piece of Belichick’s defense.  The key will be his health.  Rivers has the skill set and intangibles that will translate to the NFL level. 

Based off his injury history, to say the Patriots will be able to rely on Rivers for a full season would be negligent on Belichick’s part. 

Expect the Patriots to find additional value and depth for the defense whether or not Van Noy stays or departs.  Rivers should be part of the conversation on defense for next season.  It’s just going to be a matter of how much time he sees on the field and health to play a factor for 2020. 

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Opportunity May Be Available for Patriots Edge Rusher Derek Rivers
Opportunity May Be Available for Patriots Edge Rusher Derek Rivers
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