New England Patriots top 2017 draft pick Derek Rivers is back following a season-ending ACL tear and ready to make a contribution on defense.
Sometimes unfortunate things happen in life. But, it is how you learn from those situations that strengthens you as an individual. As a player in the NFL, New England Patriots second-year defensive end Derek Rivers is looking to turn a missed rookie season into an impactful second season.
Suffering from a torn ACL before he even got a chance to take his first snap as a professional football player, Rivers is back, healthy and participating in organized team activities without limitations.
Taking it all in as a “blessing”, the Youngstown State alum reflected on his lost rookie season as a learning experience. Yes, he was physically limited, but it didn’t halt his development as a student of the Patriots system. It actually made him a more confident player.
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"“It helped out. It helped out a lot,” Rivers told the media after Tuesday’s OTA session. “It definitely helped build confidence. Obviously, coming in here, your rookie year is almost like your freshman year in college. So now it’s just listening to the coaches, staying in the playbook and just getting ready to roll for each practice and just try to get better each and every day.”"
Although Rivers was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, his impressive 14 sacks as a senior at Youngstown State made him an intriguing player entering last spring OTAs.
Obviously, the mindset is different this time around, but Derek Rivers knows he has what it takes to contribute to the team’s pass rush this season. Not only does he have a player like Trey Flowers to learn from, he also watched Deatrich Wise Jr. make contributions as a rookie.
In all, these three young players should help the New England Patriots finally be able to get to the opposing team’s quarterback on a consistent basis.
Adrian Clayborn recovers from quad injury
Another player who should impact the team’s pass rush is veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn.
After suffering a quad injury earlier in offseason workouts, the 29-year-old free agent signee has recovered and according to Jeff How of The Athletic, was available to patriciate in OTAs on Tuesday.
Clayborn, who signed a two-year, $12 million contract with the New England Patriots this offseason, is coming off a season with the Atlanta Falcons in which he racked up 9.5 sacks.
While the majority of those sacks came in one game against the Dallas Cowboys, Arian Clayborn is a former first-round pick who obviously has the talent to get to the quarterback. In the Patriots’ system, he should get an opportunity to show off that ability as well as prove he is a multi-dimensional player who can play all three downs.
Of course, any amount of impact he has will depend on his health. As of now, it appears he is ready to get after it.