Keith Rivers and the Giants' linebacker mix

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
11:57
AM ET
Since we're talking about linebackers today, and since I don't want to ignore the other three teams in the division just because I'm at Redskins minicamp, here's Ohm's story on ESPNNewYork.com about new New York Giants linebacker Keith Rivers and whether he can prove to be "a steal."
"Uh yeah, I was the ninth pick in the draft," Rivers said when asked about playing to his potential. "[Play] anywhere near that and that [trade] is beyond a steal. It's armed robbery."

So he's got some confidence, does this Rivers. The Giants picked him up because they believe he has more talent than he showed the past few years in Cincinnati, when injuries kept him off the field and he didn't contribute the way a former ninth-overall pick should contribute. He is not, according to the Giants' current depth chart, a starting linebacker. But they're trying him in a number of different places to learn the extent to which he will help their depth and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's ability to do different things on defense than the Giants have done in the recent past.
"He's still a work in progress from a mental standpoint," the defensive coordinator said late last month. "But he is an athletic guy. He can move, he can flip his hip. I want to push it quicker. He's playing the WILL linebacker for us. At some point in time, he'll play some MIKE linebacker for us. It's how much can he digest and how much he can execute for us at this point in time. At some point in time, we're going to move him around a little bit more."

Ohm seems to think the plan is for the Giants to use fewer three-safety looks this year and lean harder on their improved depth at linebacker. Rivers could be a huge help for them in that effort. Right now, the goal is to find out how, how much and where he can help them. As Rivers himself points out, there's obviously a chance they get even more out of him than they bargained for.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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