(STATS) - If Derek Rivers' performance at the NFL Combine reflects what's ahead for him as a pro, then the New England Patriots are really going to like their third-round pick in the draft Friday night in Philadelphia.
The Super Bowl champions used the 83rd overall pick on the former Youngstown State defensive end, who may shift to outside linebacker in the NFL.
The 6-foot-4, 248-pound Rivers followed up a good week at the Senior Bowl in January with a superb Combine early last month. During the on-field drills, he was one of the top performers among all defensive ends, ranking third in the 3-cone drill (6.94 seconds), fourth in the 40-yard dash (4.61), tying for fourth on the 225-pound bench press (30 reps) and tying for fifth in the vertical jump (35 inches).
"I thought he was best-suited to play 3-4 outside linebacker," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "(He) had a really good Senior Bowl. The thing he does best ... is rush the quarterback."
At Youngstown State, Rivers was a consistent force. He earned All-Missouri Valley Football Conference first-team honors in each of his final three seasons and was a second-team STATS FCS All-American as a senior. In 49 career games, he had 173 tackles, 56 1/2 tackles for loss, 41 sacks and 48 quarterback hurries.
Also as a senior, Rivers helped the Penguins reach the FCS national championship game, where they lost to James Madison.
Rivers became the 22nd draft pick in Youngstown State history and the first since the Jacksonville Jaguars took Harry Deligianis in the fourth round in 1998.