Here’s the 2019 NFL Draft profile of defensive lineman Ed Oliver out of Houston breaking down his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights, and draft projection.
Though he surprised many when he became the first five-star recruit in history to commit to a school outside of a power-five conference, Ed Oliver, who played his collegiate ball at the University of Houston, has established himself as one of the most talented and impactful defensive linemen entering the 2019 NFL Draft.
After attending Westfield High School in Houston, Texas, the 21-year-old Oliver immediately made his presence felt for the Cougars in 2016. As a true freshman, he totaled 65 tackles with 22.5 tackles for a loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles. For his efforts, he was not only named the AAC Freshman of the year but he was also selected as a First-Team All-American.
That success continued the following year, as Oliver totaled 73 tackles with 16.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in 2017. Once again, he was selected as a First-Team All-American while also being named the AAC Defensive Player of the Year.
In 2018, he missed four games due to a knee injury, though he still put up solid numbers, totaling 54 tackles with 14.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, and one forced fumble. And for the third straight year, he was selected as a First-Team All-American.
Let’s take a look at his strengths, weaknesses, video highlights and if he might be a good fit with the New York Jets.
When analyzing Oliver, his pure athleticism, explosiveness, strength, and speed immediately stand out. With these attributes, Oliver has been highly regarded for his penetration skills, as he’s incredibly explosive off the ball.
Despite typically playing on the interior, Oliver has a knack for rushing the passer, as he uses active hands and great speed to get into the backfield and into the face of opposing quarterbacks. In addition, he’s flexible and possesses strong lateral agility.
Oliver is also skilled in defending the run as evidenced by the number of tackles for loss he’s racked up. Using his explosiveness and penetration abilities, he’s at his best when he’s able to break through the line and blow up a run in the backfield.
In addition, Oliver is well conditioned and plays with a high motor which often allows him to find the ball and make big plays.
Despite his obvious physical traits and talent, Oliver’s biggest weakness is likely his size, as he stands at 6 ft. 1 in. tall and weighs in about 274 lbs. which makes him a bit short and quite undersized in comparison to other interior defensive linemen in the NFL.
In addition, some have been concerned with his stance and his block recognition which can lead to him struggling at times. He’s also had trouble defending against downhill runs and has missed some tackles due to his lack of length.
And finally, it’s important to note that Oliver wasn’t always going up against elite offensive lines playing for Houston. He also missed four games in 2018 with a knee injury, which could raise a red flag for some teams.
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Despite the fact that some may be concerned with his size, Oliver’s athleticism and ability to make impact plays against both the pass and the run make him an intriguing target, though one that some may label as a risk.
As far as how he’d fit in with the New York Jets, the green and white are indeed in the market for a pass rusher. Specifically, the team is in need of an edge rusher, but adding Oliver to the defensive line alongside Leonard Williams could be an option. In addition, many feel as if Oliver would fit well into a 4-3 scheme, which the Jets will be switching to under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
In terms of his draft stock, Oliver has been deemed by some as a top-10 pick while others see him as more of a mid-to-late first round pick. Personally, I tend to agree with the latter.
With that being said, I wouldn’t advise the Jets to draft Oliver at No. 3. Not only is he a bit of a risk, but the Jets could likely secure a safer pass rusher at that pick. If, however, they elect to trade back into the first round, which is very possible, Oliver could be a potential option.