Raiders Draft Breakdown: Ed Oliver

ed oliver raiders

This is the eighth in an ongoing series on 2019 NFL Draft prospects by Chris Reed. He will analyze possible 2019 NFL Draft picks and their fit for the Raiders. Today, we look at Houston interior defensive lineman Ed Oliver.

Name: Ed Oliver

Position: Interior Defensive Line

Age: 21

School: Houston

Pros

An explosive first step, works his hands well, natural bend creates a small blocking surface, excellent run gap penetration, stands up blockers well, exceptional short area quickness and change of direction for his size, motor runs constantly, can play any technique on the defensive line

Cons 

Needs to add to his pass rush toolbox, lack of counter moves, length could give his issues getting off blocks against larger offensive lineman, may struggle with two-gapping

Why He Would Fit the Raiders:

Speed and disruption are the predominate features to Ed Oliver’s game and any defense will benefit from them. He didn’t put up eye-popping sack numbers during his 32 games at Houston but his explosiveness really stood out.

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He did compile 192 tackles with a very impressive 53 tackles occurring behind the line of scrimmage. He notched 13.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, and knocked down 11 passes. While his pass rush capabilities are what will get him drafted high in the first round, those 53 tackles for loss prove he can stop the run as well.

Oliver stood up well in pass defense and will be an impact player if he isn’t asked to play in a 2-gap system. He took on blocks very well and will be at his most effective when he is allowed to simply shoot gaps. He would also be a great option in Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s “Double-A” looks. While the two linebackers who “sugar” the “A” gap get the attention, it provides one on one opportunities for the duel 3-technique and EDGE rushers.

Oliver could join a promising group of second-year defensive tackles in PJ Hall and Mo Hurst. That would be an effective pass rushing trio that could be rotated throughout the game. If general manager Mike Mayock and coach Jon Gruden want to add an explosive pass rush to their interior line, there may not be a more perfect option than Oliver. There is also a good chance he will actually be there when their fourth overall selection rolls around.

Why He Would Not Fit the Raiders: 

Oliver would arguably be an upgrade to Hurst and Hall from a pass rush standpoint but they did just invest two draft picks in them. They may not want to use a top-five pick to add another player that would also project predominately as a 3-technique. That may be more draft capital than they want to invest in a single position over two drafts. Mayock and Gruden will certainly love his burst and non-stop motor but they may feel that they have more pressing needs at other roster positions.