NAME: Ed Oliver
POSITION: Interior Defensive Lineman
JERSEY: No. 10
RECRUITMENT RATING: 5-star
WT: 280 lbs
Run Defense – Elite penetration ability. Does well to win with first contact and control reps. Can anchor stoutly against drive blocks and shoot gaps. Holds his own against double teams. Plays through blocks exceptionally well and finds the football. Exceptional at shooting gaps and still playing under control once he clears. Despite his lack of ideal size, he still holds his own on the interior.
Pass Rush – Explosiveness off the ball, active hands and rare flexibility leads to consistent interior pressure in the face of the quarterback. Knows how to attack half a man while bending rush angles. Does well to get hands up into throwing lanes if his rush stalls. Converts speed to power well.
Effort – Fires off the ball with intent and urgency. Aggressively battles throughout every snap to defeat blocks, find the football and finish. Routinely chases down outside runs and screens from distance. Motor always runs hot and he relentlessly pursues the football.
Hand Technique – Explosive and powerful hand usage. Strikes quickly to get his hands on his blocker and control reps. Knows how to soften rush angles, control blockers and disengage with a variety of techniques. Developing more consistency with counters is needed. Clear that he understands the importance of winning with his hands given his lack of size and modest length. Clearing his pads is challenge and there are times that he is outreached.
Flexibility – Smooth and sudden change of direction skills. Able to carry speed through tight angles exceptionally well. Unbelievably loose in the lower half with the ability to bend rush angles. Rare ability to contort his frame and reduce his surface area. Ability to twist and torque is elite.
Play Strength – Lacks the desired mass for his position but overcomes that by playing with great leverage, aggression and illustrates tremendous strength throughout his frame. Lower body power is outstanding. Holds his own anchoring against drive blocks and can penetrate the pocket with his ability to covert speed to power.
Play Speed – Quickness and ability to get off the ball puts considerable stress on interior blockers to move their feet and stay square. Has good twitch and juice in his mobility when attacking gaps and in pursuit. Dominates with quickness.
Lateral Movement – Flows with ease down the line of scrimmage attacking wide zone runs. Smooth ability to change directions and pursue screens and off-tackle runs. Has incredible range for a defensive lineman.
Versatility – If 50 front defenses ever return, Oliver is the guy you target to play the nose tackle position. In today’s NFL, he’s a true three-technique with immense playmaking potential against the run and pass.
BEST TRAIT – Penetration Skills
WORST TRAIT – Size
RED FLAGS – Size, Missed 4 games in 2018 with knee injury
Ed Oliver’s ability to penetrate with quickness off the snap and utilize his hands to play through contact makes him an ideal fit as a three-technique in a 4-3 alignment. While he lacks size, Oliver plays with tremendous leverage and offers the play strength needed to exchange power on the interior. By year three, Oliver has the upside to become one of the NFL’s premier defensive playmakers against the run and pass.
Competitive Toughness –Plays with one of the most relentless motors I’ve seen. Is effortless in his acceleration and often times chases down ball quicker than teammates in closer proximity. Can get eaten up against bigger bodied blockers at times, however. Won’t win butting heads with powerful IOL.
Two Gap Ability –Has conceded runs off of his hip while locked up with blockers in head up instances. Will struggle due to lack of length to press and extend bodies off of his chest. Has effective short area quickness to rip through across the face of a blocker and uncover on the other side to challenge the ball.
Gap Penetration Skills –Should be let off the leash as much as possible, has a great gauge of getting depth and then sitting down to redirect and not over-pursue the play. Can get into the face of ball carriers in the backfield and be a thorn in the side of inside rushing concepts, even in short yardage situations.
Tackling –Powerful hitter in instances that allow for a head up challenge. Has had some tackles for loss slip away due to a lack of length, doesn’t have the ability to throw an arm out and catch ball carriers while still being harassed by an opposing blocker.
Flexibility –Wonderful range of motion in just about every measure imaginable. Illustrates terrific pad level, coil and leverage in exploding out of stance. Will showcase strong disassociation between hips and shoulders to carry quickness through contact. Corners well and can flip hips around a blocker.
Pass Rush Counters –Speed is the name of the game. Dynamic torso mobility on the move allows for a pop of the hands as a measure of dislodging a punch. Rip/club is his most potent combination other than speed rushing. Effective stunt player as well to pinball off a body and towards the passer.
First Step Quickness –ELITE. Has superb burst and quickness, often times totally ruining an opposing blocking scheme courtesy of beating back blocks or pulling OL to the spot and proceeding to the mesh point. Short area redirection and subsequent re-acceleration is just as impressive.
Feet/Change Of Direction –Light, nimble footed defender. Will pivot effortlessly in efforts to turn and chase the football. Has little issue planting and driving for width, can often be found outside the numbers chasing down perimeter runs. Can double back against the grain of his initial pass rush angle smoothly.
Versatility –Has enough juice to move all around the defensive front in passing situations. That said, this is not a scheme diverse football player. Needs to be given every opportunity to press forward. Run defending would be optimal with a dominant nose tackle to command attention on the interior.
BEST TRAIT – Gap Penetration
WORST TRAIT – Length/Extension
BEST FILM – Rice (2018)
WORST FILM – Arizona (2018)
RED FLAGS – Size
Ed Oliver projects cleanly as a 3T starting interior DL in the NFL. Oliver has superb penetration ability and can be a true asset on passing downs to collapse the pocket and disrupt passer visuals. Oliver will require an aggressive system, however. Tasking him with playing along the line of scrimmage will negate his burst and hinder his ability to get off of blocks.
PROS: Ed Oliver is one of the most athletic interior defensive linemen I’ve ever scouted. Has movement skills and agility that are just off the charts. Makes plays away from his initial gap that are jaw-dropping. Range of a linebacker. First step to beat anyone. Explosive and sudden in all his movements, easily able to redirect and keep blockers off balance. Always plays low and leveraged, with elite pad level and hand placement to drive through opponents. Creates an insane push off the snap and typically re-sets the line of scrimmage. Power to bull rush and the quickness to win the edge. Excellent bend to turn tight corners to the quarterback. Can backdoor gaps and still make plays. Incredible motor and will chase down plays from everywhere. Never takes a play off. Gets in on stops other defensive tackles couldn’t dream of being a part of.
CONS: Cheats his assignment at times. Gets upfield in a hurry and can sometimes widen his gap as a result. Doesn’t have great length and will get chest-to-chest with opponents at times. Repertoire of moves could be deeper. Wins more with athletic ability and raw power than refined hand usage. Will spin to get off blocks at times, turning his back to the line of scrimmage. Rumors are he plays at sub-280, which could concern teams projecting him out against better/bigger competition.