Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Keith Rivers, Age: 28
Keith Rivers is the veteran option of the Buffalo linebacker group. The former ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft has been limited by injuries throughout his career, but when on the field, the USC product has sporadically shown flashes of high-level play.
Most of that high-level play comes from his athletic ability though, thus putting much of his production contingent upon his health status. (Something that has been a big problem for Rivers, as last year was his first full 16 game season of his career.) If healthy, Rivers athleticism will be useful for Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz on passing down situations. In the strong side position, Rivers will be able to matchup head-on with players and use his athleticism in a favourable position.
Without harping on it too much, most of Rivers strengths stem from his athletic ability, essentially making him a likely rotational player. When you look at his snap counts over the last couple of seasons – only 418 in 2013 – good for 37% of the overall snaps – the diminishing numbers tells the story for Rivers. Although I would love to see Rivers finally live up to his potential in Buffalo this year, the latter story of him maintaining his position as a rotational player seems more likely.
Other notable names on the Bills roster include Manny Lawson and Ty Powell. Of the two, Powell is more likely to see the field in pass coverage situations for Buffalo. But both will fight to see regular playing time in 2014.
Who do you think will step up for Buffalo with Kiko Alonso out for the year? Tell us in the comments below!