New England Patriots defensive end Derek Rivers’ rookie season may be over due to a knee injury.
The Patriots fear they have lost their top pick (third round, 83rd overall) in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Youngstown State for the entire season, league sources told ESPN on Friday.
Rivers, 23, was injured on a kickoff coverage drill Wednesday in a joint practice in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, with the Houston Texans.
Before the Patriots traveled to Houston for a preseason game Saturday night, the team sent Rivers back to Boston for more tests. Those tests reinforced the team’s initial fear of a season-ending knee injury, according to ESPN.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Rivers, who was projected to be part of a rotation at defensive end, played 41 snaps in last Thursday night’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had 41 sacks in his college career, including 14 as a senior in 2016.