Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver is one of the 30 prospects from the 2019 NFL Draft who will be hosted by the Eagles for a visit in Philadelphia, according to Mark Berman from Fox 26 (hat tip to @Eagles_Addict).
This is an intriguing visit considering Oliver is one of the best defensive linemen in this year’s class.
There used to be thought that Oliver could be the No. 1 overall pick. Now he’s viewed more likely to fall into the teens due to concerns about his size (just under 6-2, 287 pounds). Some mock draft scenarios even have Oliver slipping to the Eagles’ pick at No. 25.
Philadelphia will be sprinting to the podium if Oliver is available at their selection on draft night. That doesn’t seem incredibly likely to happen, though. The Eagles are probably going to need to trade up for Oliver if they want to get him.
Oliver’s been killing his athletic testing:
4.19 short shuttle is the same that Henry Anderson ran in 2015 at 294 pounds. That's the best time of any DL drafted in the last 10 years.— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) March 28, 2019
JJ Watt ran a 4.21 at 290 pounds https://t.co/vfWoj6kiBC
This is true.— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) March 28, 2019
Ed Oliver's short shuttle is the same as D-Jax's was. https://t.co/RMenlcqtYN
One scout just texted me: 4.71. Insane for a guy that size. https://t.co/XjEZ1D9mBw— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 28, 2019
In three years at Houston, Oliver amassed 192 total tackles, a whopping 53 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 11 pass deflections, and five forced fumbles. That’s quality production.
Oliver clearly pops on tape in addition to the stat sheet:
Houston iDL Ed Oliver - consistently wins early w/his hands & athleticism - pic.twitter.com/76UGQuiKQh— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) January 27, 2019
BGN’s Michael Kist has Oliver as his second ranked interior defensive lineman from this year’s draft:
Oliver received a ton of hype coming into the season, but he failed to move the needle further in 2018. The 2017 film looks very similar, which is where the problem lies. Well, not really a problem, as he’s still an incredible prospect. Still, Oliver failed to develop counters and improve on his hand usage while being embroiled in a weird situation with his coaching staff.
There are also some concerns over Oliver’s size and some teams have reportedly considered moving him to linebacker. That listing of 292 pounds feels like a big fat lie, but I’m not as concerned as others. If teaching a potentially dominant 3-tech to be a linebacker seems foolish, it’s because it probably is. Besides, if you’re interested in rewiring Oliver’s brain to read runs from an off-ball alignment and teach him how coverage works, you probably won’t value him high enough to draft him anyway.
Oliver is a 3-tech, plain and simple. He may need to add 10 pounds to be effective from that alignment in the NFL, but he’s likely only a loaf of bread a day away from reaching that mark.
All that aside, Oliver remains a disruptive force with crazy athleticism for his size. A potential move to linebacker wouldn’t even be discussed if he wasn’t a freak on the move. He’ll have issues with play strength against gap schemes, but more times than not he’s going to beat you with his explosiveness and flexibility. Top tier prospect.
Summary: Immediate starter at 3-tech and instant upgrade to pass rush.
Oliver would be right at home in Jim Schwartz’s attack style defense. The Eagles having a defensive tackle trio of Fletcher Cox, Malik Jackson, and Oliver is an exciting thought. That’s a lot of interior disruption!
One can only wonder if Oliver is the player that Brian Baldinger suggested the Eagles might be interested in moving up for. It seems possible to me.
Spider graph via Mockdraftable:
Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits
Houston DT Ed Oliver
Maryland S Darnell Savage (Local) - [Click here]
Boston College OL Chris Lindstrom - [Click here]
Oklahoma OT Cody Ford - [Click here]
Ole Miss WR A.J. Brown - [Click here]
Penn State CB Amani Oruwariye - [Click here]
Arkansas G/C Hjalte Froholdt - [Click here]
TCU DE L.J. Collier - [Click here]
Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines - [Click here]
Michigan RB Karan Higdon - [Click here]
Florida S Chauncey Gardner-Johnson - [Click here]
Alabama State OT Tytus Howard - [Click here]