2019 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Houston iDL Ed Oliver



COLLEGE: Houston

CLASS: Junior

2018 STATS: 54 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 passes defended, 1 forced fumble (8 games)

CAREER STATS: 192 tackles, 53 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 11 passes defended, 5 forced fumbles (32 games)

GAMES WATCHED (9): Rice, Arizona, Texas Tech, Navy, Memphis (2018); Memphis, Arizona, Navy, South Florida (2017)

32 36″ 120″

BALL GET-OFF (20/20)

  • Exceptional first-step quickness — flies off the snap, gets a ton of depth out of first few steps
  • Excellent snap count anticipation


  • ELITE playmaking range for an interior defensive lineman — covers ground from sideline-to-sideline like a mike linebacker
  • Good stack-and-shed ability — gets off bocks consistently vs. run
  • Holds up pretty well against double teams
  • Inconsistent tackler — short arms limit tackle radius, doesn’t consistently break down and wrap-up on tackle attempts
  • Can get controlled/moved off the ball when bigger-bodied blockers are able to get their hands into his chest

POWER (15/15)

  • Very powerful upper body — violent hands with impressive knockback power
  • Overwhelming power rusher with bull rush and long arm maneuvers
  • Converts speed to power extremely well
  • Good lower body strength allows him to anchor vs. double teams

TECHNIQUE (10.5/15)

  • Plays with great natural leverage
  • Excellent hand usage vs. the run
  • Lacks consistent pass rush plan/go-to counter moves — almost always resorts to the bull rush
  • Has flashed a club/rip and spin, but doesn’t have consistent initial moves outside of the bull rush or any consistent counter moves
  • Needs more variety in pass rush plan to keep blockers guessing/disengage from blocks with greater consistency


  • Solid read-and-react skills, although he occasionally loses sight of the football after engaging with blockers
  • Assignment-sound defender that maintains gap responsibilities
  • Doesn’t over-pursue when rushing up the field


  • Adequate weight for NFL interior defensive line play
  • May not be scheme-versatile because of size/length
  • Short arms limit tackle radius, cause occasional struggles with disengaging vs. longer-armed offensive linemen (31 6/8″)

MOTOR (5/5)

  • Non-stop motor as a pass rusher and run defender
  • Extremely relentless — will chase plays 20-30 yards down the field
  • Conditioning appears to be excellent


  • Ridiculous closing speed to finish plays in the backfield or chase down runners from behind as a pursuit defender
  • Very quick and fluid change-of-direction


  • Great hip/ankle/shoulder flexion
  • Can corner on lineman at tight angles with dip-and-rip move


  • Level of competition (American Athletic Conference)
  • Sideline altercation with Major Applewhite
  • Missed four games in 2018 due to knee injury

OVERALL GRADE: 89.50/100.00 — 1ST ROUND — Rookie starter; top-15 player at position/Pro Bowl potential

SCHEME FIT: 3-technique 4-3 DT; strictly a one-gap iDL


“Ed Oliver is the most physically gifted player in the 2019 NFL Draft class. His only current player comparison from a size/athleticism/power standpoint is Aaron Donald, although when compared as prospects, it’s clear that Oliver is a far cry from what Donald was at Pittsburgh, both from a technique and pass-rush productivity standpoint. At the college level, Oliver consistently dominated against the run while showcasing flashes of brilliance as a pass rusher.

As a first-year NFL player, Oliver should be able to contribute immediately as an impact run defender. In the first year or two, his value as a pass rusher may primarily be as a pocket pusher and not necessarily a high volume sack producer. If he can develop a variety of effective pass rush moves, the potential exists for Oliver to become a premier interior pass rusher with double-digit sack ability.” – Dan Wussow



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