Ed Oliver, the devastator, the Tasmanian devil, is now a Buffalo Bill. A former five-star recruit and three-time All-American now heads to Buffalo, as the final piece in Sean McDermott’s defensive puzzle. He’s primed to be a star.
The Buffalo Bills had a major need for a dynamic defensive tackle following the retirement of Kyle Williams. After the free-agent signings phased out, the Bills were left with five defensive tackles on the roster. Those five players combined for only 45 tackles and one sack in 2018. Oliver will single-handedly transform that group. As an 18 year old, Oliver notched an outstanding 65 tackles, 22 TFLs, and five sacks. At 19 years old, he won the Outland trophy, presented to the nation’s best interior lineman. At 20 years old, only playing in eight games due to injury, Oliver still had 54 tackles, 14.5 TFLs, and three sacks.
Oliver is a verified athletic freak. The 6’2” 287-lb defensive tackle jumped ten feet, benched 225 lbs 32 times, and ran the short shuttle faster than most tight ends. He’s been pegged as a future top-ten pick since before he started college, and unlike many top high-school recruits, he showed that potential throughout his young career.
Even while playing nose tackle, Oliver was an incredible disruptor for the Houston Cougars. His strength, given his size, is incredible—he can hold his own against double teams. He ducks, dives, and dodges around blocks, and while his pass rushing portfolio is still developing, that just raises his ceiling.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on-air that the Bills had been willing to trade up, possibly as high as the third pick, for Oliver, per his league sources. That the Bills managed to stand pat at the ninth pick and take Oliver without sacrificing any extra value underlines another fantastic (lack of) maneuver by Brandon Beane.
Oliver is a one-man wrecking crew in the defensive interior. Overlook him at your own risk. For a defense that needed chaos creators above all else, Oliver is exactly what the doctor ordered. Well done, Buffalo Bills.