Prospect: Mychal Rivera, TE, TennesseeMychal Rivera

Height: 6’3¼”

Weight: 242 lb.

Athleticism:

  • Lacks top end speed to vertically stretch a defense or simply outrun man coverage, is a bit of a plodder
  • Feet are relatively heavy and infrequent, lacking lateral quickness
  • Changes directions well as a route runner with ability to sink his hips before accelerating out of breaks
  • Controlled movement with impressive balance through contact and complete body control
  • Not an overly long body type and his frame may be nearly filled out, overall strength level as a whole is merely average

Hands:

  • Natural hands-catcher who doesn’t let the ball get to his body and has very soft hands
  • High concentration level that doesn’t sway in traffic or in tight coverage, looks every ball into his hands
  • Sufficient catch radius despite having arms on the shorter end for tight ends, flexible body type to maneuver his position relative to ball placement
  • Lacks firmness of hands to finish, catch point can be disrupted too easily by the contact of defenders

Run Blocking:

  • Relatively undersized as an in-line blocker and lacks strength from the lower half to generate movement up front
  • Gets overwhelmed by bigger and stronger defensive ends at the point of attack and can lose his leverage
  • Impressive ability to place his hands on defenders and control as both a run blocker and pass protector
  • Can sustain blocks and keep defenders engaged with continuous foot movement and strong hands
  • Takes smart angles to second level targets and can wall off defenders in space
  • Keeps pads low consistently and can anchor as an extra pass blocker relatively well

Routes/Receiving:

  • Played with an adequate route tree in college and seemed to grasp concepts well
  • Has the ability to outmatch smaller defenders if given a size advantage through hand usage
  • Consistent and precise route runner with adequate change of direction ability at route landmarks
  • Disguises intentions well in routes, makes a big impact on play action and double moves
  • Has a natural feel for finding the holes in zone coverage and making himself available to the quarterback
  • Lack suddenness in his feet to avoid the hands and heavy contact of linebackers in the box
  • Tracks the ball well and can contort his body to adjust to the ball in the air
  • Very efficient after the catch with ability to maintain balance while taking the blows of tacklers, churning his feet, and consistently falling forward

Intelligence/Awareness:

  • Played a versatile role in the Tennessee offense with significant snaps at in-line tight end, H-back, slot receiver, and boundary receiver
  • Has an impressive overall awareness level with a feel for down and distance, blocking responsibilities, and offensive scheme
  • Durable player with a high experience level, 35 career starts at Tennessee

Overall:

Mychal Rivera was often the cog of the Tennessee offense that featured talents such as Tyler Bray, Justin Hunter, and Cordarrelle Patterson.  He showed a knack for the timely reception and made some incredible plays as well along the way.  Rivera was initially an Oregon Duck before transferring to a junior college after redshirting a season and then transferring to Tennessee.  He put up a career total of 76 receptions, 1018 yards, and 6 touchdowns for the Volunteers, with production steadily increasing each year.  Rivera is a ready-made NFL prospect who can contribute from day one.  What keeps his stock from sitting at the top is a lack of athleticism.  He’s far from a dynamic threat at the tight end position and isn’t a mismatch problem for defenses.  While he’s sure-handed and has a developed route tree, his ability to consistently separate is a question mark.  Frankly, his ceiling is relatively low among tight end prospects.  That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a role.  Rivera is the kind of versatile tight end that most teams look for in a number two tight end, one they can plug and play with ease.  He’s consistent, reliable, and has a high football IQ.  His lack of size and athleticism will drop him into the third day without question, but Rivera would be a smart pick for a team looking for tight end depth in the fifth round and on.

Originally published at DetroitLionsDraft.com: Mychal Rivera Scouting Report

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