2019 NFL Draft Profile: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Ed Oliver

Defensive Tackle
6-1 7/8, 287
40 time: N/A

OVERVIEW

A consensus five-star recruit in 2016 who could have signed with virtually any program, Oliver lived up to the billing from the day he hit Houston until the time he departed for the NFL.

Oliver was almost instantly impossible to block, registered 65 tackles, including 22 for loss and five sacks as a true freshman.

A known enemy by now, Oliver was drawing constant double-teams as an undersized sophomore nose tackle in Houston’s three-man front. Oliver’s playmaking prowess only grew. He won the Outland Trophy, given to the nation’s best lineman, was a Nagursksi award finalist and was named conference’s Defensive Player of the Year with 73 tackles, including 16.5 for loss and 5.5 sacks.

The bulls-eye on Oliver’s back grew even larger when he announced his intentions to forgo his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL draft before starting his junior season.

Oliver lost four games to a knee injury and a well-documented sideline confrontation with then-Houston head coach Major Applewhite stole the focus away from yet another dominant campaign. He was ahead of previous season’s pace, collecting 54 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks in eight games.

ANALYSIS

There is some question about Oliver’s best NFL position, and some suggest he might go the outside linebacker route rather than remain on the defensive line. The debate won’t matter until draft day, when a team will undoubtedly latch onto Oliver in the first round and turn him into a matchup nightmare for the rest of the league.

A truly exceptional athlete for the position, Oliver has very light feet and loose hips to warrant seemingly silly comparison to the NFL’s reigning Defensive MVP Aaron Donald. He explodes off the snap like he is fired from a cannon, slicing through gaps without resistance.

Easy bend to get skinny, showing the core flexibility to slither his away around opponents and quickly re-direct. Stronger than his frame suggests, showing a powerful initial pop for the bull rush as well as good pad level and leg drive.

Oliver is too reliant on his feet to put him in position to make plays, needing to show greater use of hands to disengage once blockers have latched on. He has to fight to earn a stalemate in short yardage when his initial burst is contained and can be too easily rooted out by double-teams due to his lack of size.

Projection: First Round

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)