Former Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ed Oliver could be one of the top-10 picks in this year’s draft, but did he help his stock at the NFL Combine?
Because Ed Oliver is an undersized defensive tackle — he measured 6 feet 1 and 287 pounds at the NFL Combine this year — some have speculated that a team could change his position at the next level. For his part, Oliver stated that he’d even be open to playing outside linebacker, understanding that teams may not view him as a tackle due to his size and unique athleticism.
At the Combine, Oliver, as first reported by the NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones, chose not to run the 40-yard dash, an event that Quinnen Williams owned with his 4.83- and 4.87-second times.
Despite not running the 40-yard dash or the three-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle, Oliver still had a strong showing in other categories. Because of his shorter stature, Oliver needed to have a strong showing on the bench press, and he more than delivered by posting 32 repetitions. That tied him with Kevin Givens at third, as he out-repped several players who out-weighed him. Now, the rep-out bench is not the best indicator of strength, but it was still good to see Oliver perform at a high level.
Oliver’s 36-inch vertical placed him fourth among defensive linemen, but that was no surprise. Everyone expected the extremely athletic Oliver to test well in the vertical, though perhaps some may have expected him to place first — a spot taken by Michigan’s impressive Rashan Gary, who is also in the conversation as one of this year’s top-10 prospects.
That said, Oliver did tie Gary in the broad jump with a 120-inch total, as only Eastern Michigan Combine stud Maxx Crosby bested him in this category.
As a whole, it was a strong Combine for Oliver, who showed off the strength and athletic ability that could make him a top 10 pick this year. Some analysts view him as a top-five overall prospect, so an NFL team snagging him in the top-10 would be thrilled to draft such a high-upside, disruptive pass rusher. Oliver’s added versatility could be a boon for his future employer, too, as the concerns about his size could prove to be a blessing.
Of course, Oliver’s height and weight both match Los Angeles Rams superstar Aaron Donald’s measurables when he was drafted out of Pitt. That’s not to say Oliver will be a future Hall of Famer like Donald, but the traits are there, as he showed at the Combine on Sunday.