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.