As Buffalo Bills training camp progresses into August, one fact has been more and more apparent: rookie defensive tackle Ed Oliver is a wrecking ball on Buffalo’s defense. He may have started his first training camp a little slowly, but once the pads came on, Oliver began turning up the intensity.
Oliver isn’t consistently winning his one-on-ones, yet. Wyatt Teller, Quinton Spain, and Spencer Long have been battling back against him. But Oliver’s been hitting splash plays in practice that make everyone take notice.
At the second training camp practice, Oliver pushed Ty Nsekhe practically into Matt Barkley’s lap on a bull rush. On Wednesday, Oliver did the same thing, but this time bull rushed an offensive lineman directly into Josh Allen, knocking the QB onto the ground (and earning Oliver an angry shout from Sean McDermott, not happy to see his quarterback taking major hits during practice).
On Thursday, Oliver had his best day of practice. He completely dominated a red zone session, entering the backfield on several reps. At one point, he burst through the line so quickly that three offensive linemen all lost their footing and fell to the ground.
Some caveats may apply here: It’s worth noting that Oliver’s best days of camp coincided with some injuries to the usual starters on the offensive line. Mitch Morse is sidelined, and both Spain and Long have spent time out of practice with minor injuries. That said, the backups Oliver’s dominating were starters in the NFL last season. Early on, Oliver seems to be following the right trajectory for a first round draft pick.