BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Ed Oliver, welcome to Buffalo.
With the 9th overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected Oliver, a defensive tackle out of Houston.
Oliver started as a true freshman for the Cougars where he played in 32 games during his three-year career. He recorded 192 tackles, 13.5 sacks and had five forced fumbles. He was named a first-team All-American in all three seasons of his collegiate career.
The Bills entered the 2019 NFL Draft with ten total picks. As of 9 p.m. Thursday night, they have two picks on Friday and seven on Saturday.
Joe B's Take
- There is no way around this. The Bills sitting at ninth overall, waiting for the board to come to them, and still landing a player that was right near the top of their board in Ed Oliver is an absolute home run.
It was all made possible by two teams: the Oakland Raiders and the New York Giants. With the Raiders decision to make the surprise selection of Clemson edge rusher Clelin Ferrell at fourth overall, and then the Giants using the sixth pick on Duke quarterback Daniel Jones, that helped both Oliver and Kentucky's Josh Allen be on the board at seven.
After just having spent a first-round selection on a similar player to Oliver in 2018, the Jaguars opted to go for the pass rusher Allen. Then the Lions, who have invested heavily in defensive tackles in recent years, chose to go with an offensive player in TJ Hockenson, which of course left the Bills in a dream scenario to select Oliver at ninth overall.
Had the board remained a bit more of the chalk variety, the Bills had been considering moving up to get in a position to select Oliver. Since the board fell the way that it did, they decided to hold and came away with an unforeseen situation. Instead the Bills still hold their second and third-round selections, and with seven picks on Day Three, could even jump up in the order from 40 or 74.
As for Oliver, now they have an anomaly of a three-technique defensive tackle that, if he lives up to his potential, can dramatically shift how opposing teams play the Bills. Oliver slots into the role vacated by the retired Kyle Williams, and has all the ability to become one of the best defenders on the roster early into his career.
In March, at the NFL Owner's Meetings, head coach Sean McDermott called the position of three-technique defensive tackle, and in getting pressure from the interior, to be critical to the team's defense -- and that it's harder to stop than pressure from the edge. After the pick, McDermott reiterated the same message.
At his maximum potential, Oliver can become the three-technique of McDermott's dreams as a nuisance against the run and constantly winning at the point of attack to get into the backfield. His explosiveness off the snap, his strength in leverage even when he gets inside the pads of the offensive lineman, his ability to close on a ball carrier and quarterback and never giving up on a play is what stands out about him.
The drawback to him, which is likely why he lasted so long in the draft (besides the surprise picks of Oakland and the Giants), is that he lacks the prototypical measurements that teams primarily look for in that three-technique role. Oliver measured in just below 6-foot-2, 281-pounds, and with 31 3/4-inch arms, but he more than makes up for it with his anomalous athleticism for the position in which he posted unheard of change of direction and explosive scores during his workouts.
Those traits show up on film and give the Bills plenty of evidence that he'll be able to jump right into the three-technique role and flourish in their system with the more he gets comfortable. Sean McDermott helped make Kawann Short into a star in that role in Carolina, and now with his new 21-year-old pass-rushing interior defender, he hopes to have that once more in Ed Oliver. If Oliver hits his ceiling, he has the potential to become a star in McDermott's defense all the same.
This is now the first time the organization has invested a draft resource in a pass rusher under this regime. And I can't say it enough -- from where they were able to get him, to the player himself, to the fit for their defense... this is a slam dunk of a pickup for Beane and McDermott.