Former Youngstown State defensive end Derek Rivers was selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. Rivers was the first pick of the 2017 Super Bowl Champions and the 83rd selection overall in the draft.
Rivers becomes the first Penguin since Harry Deligianis was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 1998 NFL Draft.
The pick was announced by 2008 Hall of Famer and former New England Patriots great Andre Tippett.
Rivers becomes the 22nd draft pick in school history and the first since 1998.
The former Penguin had an outstanding career at YSU.
A native of Kinston, N.C., Rivers came to Youngstown in January 2013 after spending the fall at Fork Union Military Academy.
As a freshman in 2013, Rivers was a part-time player for the Penguins appearing in 10 games as a reserve defensive end and registering 13 tackles, three of which were sacks.
The next year was a breakout campaign for Rivers. He had more sacks (14) than he did tackles (13) than the previous season. He earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors for the first time in his career. That year he was fifth in the FCS in sacks per game registering 1.08 per contest.
As a junior, he fought through constant double teams to finish with nine sacks and 15.5 TFLs earning third-team All-America honors and again was a first-team All-MVFC pick. During the season he set the school record for career sacks.
Heading into the 2016 season, Rivers was ready for a great grand finale. He did just that helping lead the Penguins to the 2017 Division I National Championship Game. A second-team All-American selection, he had 58 total tackles, 19.5 TFLs and 14 sacks. In the postseason he took his game to another level with seven TFLs, five sacks, six QB hurries and a fumble recovery.
Rivers ended his career with 41 sacks, 56.5 TFLs and 173 tackles in 49 games played. He broke the school record for sacks by 19 and ranked in the top five in FCS history in career sacks.
He is the second-highest draft pick in school history behind the legendary Ron Jaworski who was picked 37th in 1973. He was three spots ahead of Pete Lanzi who was picked 86th by the New York Giants in 1948.
NFL Draft Picks (22)
Derek Rivers, New England Patriots (3rd round • No. 83 | 2017)
Harry Deligianis, Jacksonville (4th round • No. 118 | 1998)
Tony Tellington, Miami (9th round • No. 236 | 1993)
Jim Zdelar, Miami (7th round • No. 176 | 1989)
Bob Thompson, New Orleans (6th round • No. 142 | 1986)
John Goode, St. Louis Cardinals (5th round • No. 136 | 1984)
Paul McFadden, Philadelphia (12th round • No. 312 | 1984)
Quentin Lowry, Dallas (12th round • No. 329 | 1979)
Ed McGlasson, New York Jets (10th round • No. 263 | 1979)
Greg Fitzpatrick, Dallas (7th round • No. 191 | 1979)
Cliff Stoudt, Pittsburgh (5th round • No. 121 | 1977)
Ron Jaworski, Los Angeles Rams (2nd round • No. 37 | 1973)
Dave DelSignore, San Francisco (15th round • No. 373 | 1970)
Craig Cotton, San Diego (8th round • No. 200 | 1969)
Jake Ferro, Miami (15th round • No. 372 | 1967)
Bill House, Cleveland (7th round • No. 177 | 1967)
Frank Horvath, Minnesota (19th round • No. 255 | 1963)
Joe Guido, Baltimore (14th round • No. 161 | 1957)
Ralph Goldston, Philadelphia (11th round • No. 125 | 1952)
Pete Lanzi, New York Giants (11th round • No. 86 | 1948)
Al Perl, Pittsburgh (16th round • No. 143 | 1946)
Leo Mogus, Washington (17th round • No. 180 | 1943)