Scouting Report: Grading Tape On Newly Signed Linebacker Keith Rivers

IRVING, Texas – A brief film study of veteran linebacker Keith Rivers, who the Cowboys signed to a one-year contract on Wednesday evening.

Name:Keith Rivers
Age:28
Height/Weight:6-2/236

College:USC

Experience: 7 seasons

Games Studied: Buffalo 'Bills '14 vs. Chicago, Houston, New England

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Showed the ability to line up at both a Sam and Will linebacker. Thought his best position was when he played over the tight end on the strong side. Really good football intelligence in his assignments and where he needed to fit in the scheme. Has some short area quickness more than a long extended burst. Made the effort to play with some range, but I would say that he is limited in his overall speed.

Doesn't cover the ground like he once did. Good reactions to what is happening to him – but I would not call him a fluid, moving athlete. Would have liked to seen better change of direction but most likely because of that lack of quickness. Felt like his upper body strength was good along with that ability to play with his hands. When stood up over the tight ends against the Texans, he was able to control them off the line.

I didn't see many explosive plays from him. Tackling was in and out. Thought I would have seen a more consistent player in this area from the number of times that he was in position to finish. Would wrap up one-on-one then the very next play would just flat miss. Liked what I saw from the coverage aspect. Showed good discipline in zone to make his drop, then work to the ball. Only bust I saw in coverage was in man where he whiffed on the back out of the backfield against the Texans when he missed on the jam. Overall showed awareness to key and diagnose. Not out of place.

He played in more third down situations against the Bears than he did against the Texans and Patriots. Didn't give the scheme anything as a blitzer. Did see him attack the line one time, but he lacked counter moves to really make anything happen. Was stuck along the line. His best trait is his intelligence, while his worst one is his ability to play with a burst and speed. Studied the New England and Green Bay special teams tape and only played in the Packers game as the left tackle on the kickoff return.

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