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Youngstown State DE Derek Rivers: Small School Prospect, Big Time Talent

As we journey through this process together, searching for the next great pass rusher, we make an unexpected stop at Youngstown State University to visit .

Rivers, who was named first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference this year, is a 6-5 250 pound who dominated the FCS during his college career. Rivers finished the with 14 and 58 tackles, showing versatility as a defensive end against both the pass and run.

In my draft work over at Slant Sports, I completed another scouting report, this time profiling Rivers. Derek Rivers brings a lot to the table, with a great speed rush and an underrated power rush which keep even the best offensive tackles off balance.

His best trait is that first step quickness. Rivers comes off the ball explosively, playing with a jet-pack on his back, especially on obvious passing downs. If your gets into a 3rd and long situation against Rivers, he will pin his ears back and get to the  right now.

Against the run, Rivers is disciplined and smart in his approach, showing good block recognition and rarely over-pursuing plays.

Rivers is able to beat slower offensive tackles off the ball and cross their face to make plays. He also does a good job of keeping his pads clean and shedding blocks with a quick swim or rip at the point of attack.

In my mind, there is no question that Derek Rivers is worth a second-round pick for the Cowboys. I have given Rivers a day two grade, and if it weren't for this deep class, I believe it would be possible for him to rise into the .

Yes, the level of competition (or lack thereof) that Rivers faced in college is a bit concerning, but the traits which Rivers possesses, especially as a pass rusher, make him an intriguing prospect.

The problem is, rarely drafts small school guys. Especially not in the first two rounds. As much fun as it would be to see Rivers rushing the passer with a Star on his helmet, the Cowboys seems more inclined to take chances on big school guys way before someone from Youngstown State.

I don't exactly agree with this approach, but it is the way the Cowboys do business. But hey, came from Troy, so I hope this front office keeps an open mind.

Remember to keep checking both Inside The Star as well as Slant Sports for scouting reports, Cowboys mock drafts, and overall draft coverage over these next few months.

Kevin Brady
Kevin Brady
Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.

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