Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver has seen his draft stock steadily drop since the beginning of 2018. Entering the college season as a potential No. 1 pick, Oliver’s junior season was far from bad, but it wasn’t quite as eye-popping as some were expecting after his 16.5-TFL season the year before. A knee injury was at least partially to blame.
Then at last month’s NFL Combine, Oliver was overshadowed by other athletic defensive linemen like Quinnen Williams, Montez Sweat and Rashan Gary. Again, that wasn’t really the fault of Oliver. He didn’t do the drills in Indianapolis because of a minor foot injury.
So Thursday was Oliver’s opportunity to regain his status as one of the top defensive line options in this year’s class. At Houston’s Pro Day, Oliver did not disappoint.
Ed Oliver reportedly ran the short shuttle in 4.19 seconds at Houston's pro day. Aaron Donald ran it in 4.39 seconds at the 2014 NFL Combine. Here's how Oliver stacks up against some notable skill-position players pic.twitter.com/wfYInVCjjE— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) March 28, 2019
(Note: “Officially” Oliver actually measured in at 4.22)
Other notable measurements:
- 4.73 40-yard dash
- 7.15 three-cone
- 36-inch vertical
Put it all together, and you’ve got an elite athlete no matter where you line Oliver up at:
So crazy were his numbers that he remains in elite range at DT, DE, and even LB. Plug him in at strong safety, and his numbers still remain quite a bit above average! pic.twitter.com/qFUqFEbb7f— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 28, 2019
Earlier on Thursday, we toyed with rumors that the Atlanta Falcons may attempt to trade up to the Lions to grab Oliver with the eighth overall pick. However, Oliver’s performance at his Pro Day puts into question whether Oliver will even be there when the Lions are on the clock.
And even if the Oliver is there at eight, you have to wonder if the Lions would be interested. Detroit doesn’t have much in terms of internal pass rush along their defensive line, and Oliver has the explosion and agility that is so rare for a man his size—even if he is considered an undersized defensive tackle. He also has positional versatility that the Lions covet so much.
Add Oliver to the many logical options the Lions have with their first-round pick. With less than a month until draft day, we’re no closer to having any sort of idea what Detroit will do, and I love it that way.