Ed Oliver 6’ 2” 290 lbs; Defensive Tackle; University of Houston
Defensive tackle Ed Oliver may be the best player in the 2019 NFL Draft, and he may end up being one of the best players in the NFL in a few years. His first step quickness is off the charts, and he can win with strength, leverage. and quickness. He is an attitude-setter on the entire defense and not just the defensive line. He comes at you relentlessly. and he will chase down plays away from him 40 yards downfield.
Now I know what you are thinking: The Jets don’t need another defensive lineman. But you would be right and wrong at the same time. The Jets don’t need another defensive lineman, but they definitely need defensive tackle Ed Oliver. I will explain why..
Oliver is a rare talent who along with Nick Bosa are the favorites as of now to be the #1 overall pick in the NFL 2019 Draft. He has been compared to Aaron Donald because of his quickness. but he also appears to be as fast as Warren Sapp who had the best 40 time (4.69 sec) by an interior lineman in the history of the Combine.
I think the wave of the future in rushing the QB will be done by defensive tackles and Oliver fit that bill to a tee. With the soon to be proliferation of quick passing attacks and RPO’s the need to get to the QB quickly will be exacerbated. The fastest direction to a fixed point is a straight line. With Oliver’s incredible quickness he can be a penetrating force and a sack artist with QB’s in his sights.
In this clip he is ironically playing USF (currently ranked #21) who he is set to play today.
This play shows you the quickness of Oliver. This play is a run to the right, and Oliver is playing a “1” Technique of the right shoulder of the center. The blocking assignment on this play is for the center to wash down the “1” tech to the right and push him past the ball carrier who will cut in behind the block . This is a short area reach block but the center can barely get a finger on Oliver before he blasts by him for a huge loss.
This play is a simple line stunt and Oliver shows his speed and gets the the QB quickly. I counted 12 steps for him, but because he was relatively untouched he gets there in under 3 seconds. His speed for a big man is excellent.
He was playing a 3 technique on this play. and with his plus athleticism he can play just about anywhere on the the D-line although he will play the vast majority of his snaps as a 3 technique.
Here again is the versatility on display...
This play shows you the athleticism and football acuity the Oliver possess. He is standing up over the center (as are the two defensive ends) playing a hybrid “0” tech/ MLB position. At the snap the LDE crashes down the line, and the LCB blitzes from the edge leaving the right WR wide open. The QB does the right thing and throws to the side of the blitz to the wide open receiver. Oliver sees that the blitz is ineffective. He follows the eyes of the QB, and it takes him into the passing lane where he blocks the pass.
Again superior quickness...
Here Oliver is playing a “1” technique again, and he is so quick off the ball that he splits the center/guard gap. He is into the backfield as the ball carrier is taking the ball. and the RB is a dead duck. This is elite quickness, so much so that the guard’s attempt to grab and hold Oliver is fruitless.
Here he is over center...
This may seam redundant but here is the elite quickness of Oliver on display again. He is playing a “0” technique directly over the center. The center is suppose to do a cursory block on Oliver and then get to the 2nd level and cut off the ILB. The right guard is supposed to finish the block, which should be easy because of the great angle he has on the play. Oliver beats the block and is able to stay low and into the backfield, taking down the RB in his tracks.
Oliver’s position at the top of Draft boards is well deserved. He is a talent like few before him. He would have been a 1st round pick last year but he too young to be eligible for the Draft. His two and a half year production is prodigious with 189 tackles, 52 TFL and 14 sacks despite constant double teams. If he played on a Clemson line with all that talent he would have one of the greatest stat years ever in college football. If you want to nitpick you could say he can use better hand usage and he lacks a lot of power.
Like I said earlier, I think inside pass rush ability is going to be one of the most sought after aspects of a DT prospects abilities in the next few years. Oliver is not a perfect prospect, but he has the requisite attributes to be a monster on the D-line in the near future. They list him at 6’ 3” but I think he is closer to 6’ 1” which is fine. Aaron Donald is 6’ 1” and it doesn’t seem to bother him. On the contrary it might actually help him because there is less area to block, and he can use positive leverage against taller players. In the trenches the man who gets his hands up faster is usually the winner, and with the quickness of Oliver he could dominate early in his career.