The Falcons need help on the defensive line and there is no doubt abut that. From being 22nd in the NFL in sacks and 25th in run defense, literally anything can help. Just so happens that a guy who was poorly utilized in college, Ed Oliver, could be on the board and has eye popping talent and combine numbers that drew comparisons to Aaron Donald. Definitely a lofty comparison, but it is well deserved.
Ed Oliver stands at 6’1 and weighs in at 287 pounds. A little bit small for an interior defensive lineman but the before mentioned Aaron Donald also stands at 6’1. Just turn on the tape, and you will see why Oliver has big time potential but also big time question marks.
The biggest question mark, which really shouldn’t be one is his character. One blow up on the sideline with a coach over wearing a jacket got the scouts writing all kinds of things about what kind of teammate he is. Long story short, that one incident should not haunt him at all on draft day because he was a silly situation to begin with, and if he was poor character guy, he wouldn’t have stayed home and become the first 5 star recruit to ever go to a non power 5 program.
His nonstop motor and explosive first step is what has teams drooling over him. With his size, he needs that quick first step on the interior linemen to shoot the gaps and it works as he is a pest to block and would form a terrific, but undersized, DLine duo of him and Grady Jarrett.
With the Falcons running a 4-3, there could be times where you see Oliver slide out to the edge for a play, and with Dan Quinn running the show on defense this season, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him have a couple of packages like that, especially with the recent signing of Tyler Davison.
Oliver’s run defense is probably the biggest question mark in his game due to his size. I just do not see that being an issue with his explosiveness and quick first step. He is not doubt a better pass rusher than a run defender, but he can develop into an absolute star in both areas.
Ed Oliver overall has All Pro potential. He can help jump-start a Falcons defense that desperately needs it after last season, but also adds back Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen in the secondary. A guy like Ed Oliver on the DLine could really do wonders for this defense and give them a big jump in the defensive rankings.
The Falcons may be forced to trade up to get Ed Oliver, but we have seen in the past with the Julio Jones trade a few years back, if they like a player, they will do what it takes to get him.
By: Bret Anderson