Facts and figures from Ron Rivera’s 11 previous NFL Drafts as head coach

Facts and figures from Ron Rivera's 11 drafts as head coach originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

The NFL Draft — a yearly event that a few people seem to have taken somewhat of a passive interest in — is back for another edition starting this Thursday.

So, before Ron Rivera adds more names to the Commanders’ roster, let’s take a look at some numbers from the previous drafts he’s been a part of as head coach…

  • Rivera was with the Panthers for nine drafts from 2011 to 2019 and has participated in two since joining Washington for a grand total of 11. And though it’s fair to say he’s had more power at his second stop since the Commanders are employing a coach-centric approach, he undoubtedly had a prominent voice in Carolina, too (duh).
  • There have been 76 selections on Rivera’s watch during his time with both organizations. 39 of those were spent on defensive players, 34 were used on offensive players and three were sprinkled in on specialists.
  • When it comes to major draft capital — defined in this story as first-, second- or third-round choices — Rivera’s teams have gone defense on 17 occasions and offense 14 times. So, in both overall picks and premium picks, Rivera skews a bit toward the guys tasked with preventing points over those who are supposed to score them.
  • Rivera’s had a first-rounder in every draft with Carolina and Washington. The breakdown of the position he’s grabbed with each of those 11 Day 1 decisions is as follows: Three linebackers, two defensive ends, two defensive tackles, two wide receivers, one running back and one quarterback. 
  • The above list means that Rivera has never ended up with a cornerback in the first round, a trend that could end this Thursday if Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner somehow falls to the Commanders or if Derek Stingley Jr. is a favorite of Washington’s. 

  • Rivera has never focused on one unit in the first round for three consecutive drafts. In other words, while there are instances where he’s double-dipped on offense or defense two years in a row, he’s never done so for three. With Washington, he’s nabbed Chase Young and Jamin Davis to kick off drafts thus far. Going off of Rivera’s history, that means coordinator Scott Turner’s group is due to get reinforcements on Thursday.
  • On offense, Rivera has scooped up more wide receivers (10) than any other spot. Tackle (six) and running back (six) are tied behind wideout. 
  • On defense, Rivera has settled on more linebackers (11) than any other spot. Cornerback (10) and defensive end (eight) are second and third behind linebacker.
  • Receiver might be the most oft-mocked position for the Commanders in 2022’s first round, as numerous prospects from that section of the depth chart could be available when they’re on the clock. Regardless of what the club does at No. 11, it’ll almost assuredly add at least one receiver this weekend. Therefore, keep this in mind: Of the 10 targets Rivera has acquired in his 11 drafts, seven of them are listed on Pro Football Reference as 6 feet tall or shorter. Of the top rising pros, Ohio State’s Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are both 6 feet tall, while Alabama’s Jameson Williams is 6-foot-1 and USC’s Drake London is 6-foot-4.
  • Lastly, Rivera has found just one long snapper with a food-related last name as a head coach (Camaron Cheeseman in 2021). Doing so again at some point in his career would solidify him as one of the best in that very specific yet very vital part of running an NFL squad.

This article was written by WTOP’s news partner, NBC Sports Washington. Sign up for NBC Sports Washington’s free email subscription today.

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