Derek Rivers

East Notes: Rivers, Jets, Ogletree

The Patriots drafted edge rusher Derek Rivers in the third round of the 2017 draft, but the Youngstown State product has played in just six regular season games over his first three years in the pros. His entire rookie campaign was wiped out due to a torn ACL, he had a limited workload in 2018, and he sustained a knee injury during a preseason game in August that landed him on IR for all of 2019.

But as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, Rivers still features heavily in New England’s plans. Reiss says Rivers remains a constant presence at the team’s facility, and if the team cannot retain free agent Kyle Van Noy — which is quite possible, given the amount of cap space that will need to be devoted to the offensive side of the ball, including the quarterback position — Rivers will need to step up.

Now for more from the league’s east divisions:

  • Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv takes a look at a few Jets who could be cap casualties this offseason. Most of them — like CB Trumaine Johnson, whom we recently discussed as a release candidate — are obvious choices, but players like Jonotthan Harrison and Avery Williamson are more difficult calls. Vacchiano believes the club would be wise to retain Harrison at least as a depth option, and he suggests Williamson could be back on a reworked contract.
  • In a separate piece, Vacchiano names a few players the Jets should target in free agency, assuming their current teams don’t retain them. Unsurprisingly, he believes Gang Green should target the top of the O-line (Brandon Scherff, Jack Conklin) and WR (Amari Cooper, Emmanuel Sanders) markets.
  • Vacchiano undergoes the same exercises for the Giants that he did for the Jets. For Big Blue, he names LB Alec Ogletree as the most likely player to be cut on his list of seven names, and he also believes Conklin would be a perfect fit for the G-Men.
  • Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic summarizes the changes to the coaching staff that the Eagles recently made official. We had previously passed along most of those names, though Kapadia’s list also includes Andrew Breiner (hired as pass game analyst) and Dino Vasso (promoted to assistant defensive coordinator). He also offers his take on the changes, including his observation that the offensive staff now includes coaches who have very different schematic backgrounds, which suggests that Philadelphia will try to incorporate a wide variety of looks in 2020.

Patriots Reach Roster Max

The Patriots announced the release of 27 players as a part of their efforts to get down to the 53-man limit. They also placed four players on injured reserve, one player on NFI, and another on PUP.

The previously reported release of wide receiver Demaryius Thomas understandably got the most attention, but there are some other notable names here, including wide receiver Braxton Berrios. Berrios, 24 in October, had a solid training camp and preseason, but could not find a place on the roster after Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon returned to action. It stands to reason that he could be a practice squad candidate if he clears waivers.

Here’s the rest:

Released:

TE Stephen Anderson
TE Andrew Beck
RB Nick Brossette
OL Cole Croston
WR Ryan Davis
OL James Ferentz
OL Tyler Gauthier
LB Terez Hall
DL Trent Harris
DB A.J. Howard
OL Martez Ivey
FB Jakob Johnson
DL Ufomba Kamalu
OL Cedrick Lang
LB Calvin Munson
DL David Parry
WR Damoun Patterson
LB Christian Sam
TE Eric Saubert
OL Dan Skipper
OL Tyree St. Louis,
DL Nick Thurman
DB Ken Webster
LB Scooby Wright III

Placed on IR:

OL Hjalte Froholdt
DB Malik Gant
DL Derek Rivers

In addition, New England also placed offensive lineman Yodny Cajuste on the NFI list and wide receiver Cameron Meredith on the PUP list.

East Notes: Giants, Collins, Pats, Dolphins

Landon Collins fractured his arm last December, and the injury is not healing as well as the Giants safety had hoped, reprots Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter links). As such, Collins is now considering another operation to further repair the break. Luckily, a procedure to plate the break would only recover a six-to-eight week recovery period, meaning Collins would likely be available for training camp, per Garafolo, who cautions that while surgery is expected, no final decision has been made. Collins, who earned his second consecutive Pro Bowl berth in 2017, is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two East divisions:

  • After missing the entirety of his rookie season due to a torn ACL, Patriots edge rusher Derek Rivers has not suffered any setbacks, per Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. As should be expected, New England will likely use caution as Rivers reintegrates into football, and the club likely won’t feel the need to push Rivers during offseason activities. But it appears that the third-round pick from Youngstown State will be ready for the start of the 2018 campaign, says Reiss. Heading into last year’s draft, Rivers was viewed as something of a project, a high-motor player who may need time to develop. The Patriots could certainly use help on the edge after finishing just 30th in pressure rate last year, and Rivers could conceivably get a chance at playing time if healthy.
  • Although the Dolphins have already signed veteran Frank Gore to pair with incumbent Kenyan Drake, the club will be open to selecting another running back in the draft, as Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald writes. Indeed, Miami has been attempting to schedule a pre-draft visit with San Diego State running back Rashaad Penny, but finding an open date has been difficult given that Penny has already set up many meetings with other teams. Penny (5’11”, 220) rushed for a whopping 2,248 yards in 2018, averaging 7.8 yards per carry while scoring 23 touchdowns on the ground.
  • The New York media market could play a factor in the Giants‘ decision on whether to use the No. 2 overall pick on quarterback, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk opines. If Big Blue drafts a signal-caller, fans and reporters alike will likely be clamoring for that passer to be inserted into the starting lineup if Eli Manning falters. While that doesn’t necessarily mean the Giants shouldn’t consider a quarterback, they should only do so if general manager Dave Gettleman & Co. have no doubts about the prospect, argues Florio. Sitting at No. 2, New York will have their choice of three of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield, and Josh Allen (provided Cleveland uses the first overall pick on a quarterback, as expected).

Patriots’ Derek Rivers Done For Season?

Derek Rivers’ rookie season has ended before it could even start. The team fears that the defensive end has suffered a season-ending knee injury, according to Field Yates and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Specifically, Rivers has suffered a torn ACL and sprained LCL, per the initial MRI, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Additional testing will likely confirm that surgery is needed.
Derek Rivers (vertical)

Rivers was injured during a kickoff coverage drill on Wednesday. It’s a bad break for both the player and the team as Rivers was expected to pitch in at both defensive end and outside linebacker in the wake of Rob Ninkovich‘s retirement.

Rivers was a third-round pick in this year’s draft, but he wound up being the team’s highest draft choice after the Pats sent their first-round pick to the Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks and dealt their second-round choice to the Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy.

The injury could prompt the Patriots to look at free agent options. There aren’t a ton of high-impact edge rushers left, but Dwight Freeney is one of the more notable names left on the board. As a pass rush specialist for the Falcons last year, Freeney finished out with 3.0 sacks and ten tackles in the regular season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots Sign Top Pick Derek Rivers

The Patriots’ top pick is officially under contract. Defensive end Derek Rivers has inked his rookie deal, according to his agents (on Twitter). Derek Rivers (vertical)

The Pats selected Rivers with the No. 85 overall pick in the draft, their top selection thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade with New Orleans. The Youngstown State product finished school in style, tallying 14.0 sacks and garnering attention from talent evaluators all over the league. Rivers could be a factor at defensive end behind Kony Ealy and Trey Flowers this year, but we could also see him get some reps at outside linebacker where he can learn from Rob Ninkovich.

The Patriots have now signed all four members of their 2017 draft class. Here’s the full rundown of New England’s rookie class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.