The New England Patriots drafted Youngstown State EDGE Derek Rivers with the 83rd overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, before trading up to add Troy OT Antonio Garcia. Both players come from small schools, so you are excused for not knowing more about either player.
Fortunately for us, Pro Football Focus looks at every single college football game and can give us great scouting reports about both players.
“Fantastic burst off the line of scrimmage when he gets an obvious pass situation.”; “Almost never came off the field for Youngstown State.”; “Plays with great leverage against the run and as a bull-rusher. Sinks his hips and keeps arms locked out.”; “Extremely disciplined against the run.”
“Level of competition is a serious concern.”; “A good deal of pass rushes with no real plan of attack.”; “Mostly a one-hit pass-rusher. If his initial move is stoned, he has little else in his toolbox.”
“He’s still much more projection than finished product at this point... If Rivers can improve his down to down consistency, he’ll be a starter in the NFL.”
Rivers offers pass rushing upside, but it’s probably his run defense that will keep him on the field. The Patriots prefer their edge defenders to control the point of contact to allow the linebackers to collect the tackles and Rivers seems to be a perfect fit.
“Long arms that are used to control defenders.”; “Great footwork.”; “Sixth-best pass-block grade in the nation in 2016 at 87.5.”; “Did not yield a sack in 2016.”
“Odd footwork in the run game”; “Bad habit of pulling defenders down when pass blocking.”; “Not overly aggressive or physical in the run game.”; “Defenders can get under his pads and push Garcia back.”
“Garcia’s footwork and length give him all the tools to be a great pass protector in the NFL...Garcia will need to develop physicality in the run game to be a starting NFL tackle.”
Garcia appears to be a project tackle that offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia should mold into a viable starter. Garcia needs a lot of technique work coming out of a spread offense and he could be a great player once he learns the NFL blocking game.