A 6-foot-4-inch, 248-pound pass rusher, Derek Rivers played for Youngstown State University under Bo Pelini, a former National Football League (NFL) coach. During his final three college seasons, Rivers recorded 160 total tackles, 52 tackles for loss, and 36 sacks. His final year was especially impressive, with 14 sacks and 58 tackles.
Coming from a small school, Rivers will have to adjust to the talent level of the NFL, but he proved his athletic ability during Senior Bowl, garnering considerable attention during All-Star week. He also performed well during the off-season circuit, leading to a pre-draft visit from coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ defensive staff. Rivers joins Rob Ninkovich, Kony Ealy, and Trey Flowers as the team’s defensive ends.