The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver has decided to skip their bowl game in preparation for the NFL Draft.
Position: Defensive tackle
2018 Stats: 54 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble
Size: 6-foot-2, 287 pounds
Ed Oliver was a highly-touted prospect who could have gone to almost any college he wanted to and chose to go to Houston. He has been an impact player since day one, which is impressive given the fact that he was double teamed on most plays.
In his three seasons, Oliver totaled 192 tackles, 53.5 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks. He also has a knack for knocking the ball loose with five forced fumbles. Oliver didn’t see his stats grow over his seasons in college like a lot of prospects do, but that is hard to do after having such an impact season as a freshman. Still, Houston fans can’t complain about his 14.5 tackles for loss and three sacks in eight games this season. He has had issues with a knee injury this season and now will not play in Houston’s bowl game as he prepares for the NFL.
Defensive tackles aren’t usually at the top of teams’ draft boards, as they prefer to target players who put up more production as pass rushers. With that being said, there are a lot of great players at the defensive tackle position in this draft class and Oliver is one of them. He should expect to hear his name called early in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Oliver has played many different spots along the defensive line including nose tackle and defensive end to go along with his natural defensive tackle spot. He could play 4-3 defensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end in the NFL. He gets off the line of scrimmage quickly and attacks the offensive line with power.
Against the run, Oliver maintains good gap integrity. He sheds blocks and even double teams well. Oliver then has good pursuit of the ball carrier and finishes the play well with his good tackling and even sometimes knocks the ball loose. He demonstrates his good motor chasing plays down the field.
As a pass rusher, he uses his strength and athleticism to his advantage. Oliver is a good bull rusher and uses his hands well to get past blockers and to the quarterback. He is double teamed on pass plays a lot as well and when the coverage holds up for a few seconds he is often able to finish the play with a sack.
He has great athleticism and strength that NFL coaches will love to work with.
As an early first-round pick, there aren’t a lot of weaknesses with Oliver. He could have better play recognition. At times he is fooled by screens and misdirections. When the offensive line blocks one way, he gets caught up and follows them, while the ball goes the opposite direction.
While he is a good pass rusher, that is mainly limited to the inside. When he moves outside he is far less effective. Oliver also needs to add more pass rushing moves to his arsenal, as he heavily relies on the bull rush to get to the quarterback.
Oliver has dealt with a knee injury for a lot of his junior season at Houston. He’ll need to be cleared by doctors, but it shouldn’t be a serious enough injury to hold back his NFL Draft status.
Projected Draft Range: Top 15 pick