Defensive tackle | Houston | Junior
Height: 6-foot-2 | Weight: 287 pounds
2018: 54 tackles (29 solo), 14.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, two pass breakups, one forced fumble in eight games; \AP\ Third-Team All-America; Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist; two-time American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week
Career: 193 tackles (123 solo), 53.5 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks, 14 pass breakups, six forced fumbles; first three-time All-American in school history; first player in school history to earn All-Conference honors in three separate years; 2017 Outland Trophy winner
View photos of Houston DT Ed Oliver.
Summary: The five-star recruit and Houstonian opted to play college football close to home and joined a Cougars squad to team with his brother, Marcus. Oliver was ranked among the top defensive tackles (No. 1 in Texas by Scout and No. 3 in Texas by Rivals; No. 2 nationally by ESPN) when he was coming out of Westfield High School.
Oliver made an immediate splash, starting all 13 games and leading the AAC with 23 tackles for loss (ranked second nationally) en route to earning AAC Rookie of the Year and \AP\ First-Team All-America honors. Oliver’s nine pass breakups ranked first, and his 47 solo tackles ranked second nationally among defensive linemen in 2016.
The encore performance by Oliver was good enough for him to claim the Outland Trophy (best college interior lineman), be named the AAC’s Defensive Player of the Year and be designated as a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player). Oliver ranked third nationally among defensive linemen with 6.1 tackles per game, and his average of 1.38 tackles for loss per game ranked 15th.
Oliver, however, missed four games because of injury in his junior season and did not play in the Armed Forces Bowl against Army.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein noted Oliver’s athleticism but pondered if his size will be big enough for the interior of the line in the NFL.
“Oliver’s athletic ability is beyond rare, but his ability to add and maintain mass could be critical for his future success. He creates early advantages but must convert them into early disruption to prevent NFL size from swallowing him.”
Click here for Zierlein’s full report.
Stacking up: Draft analyst Dane Brugler, who writes for The Athletic, ranked Oliver as the second-best defensive tackle in this year’s field. NFL Media analyst Bucky Brooks most recently listed Oliver as the second-best defensive tackle in his newest post-combine positional rankings.
Oliver is listed as the No. 4 overall prospect in NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent top 50.
“Overall, Oliver isn’t as powerful or polished as the Rams Aaron Donald was entering the NFL, but he has similar athleticism and should be a disruptive force for the team that drafts him.”
Horsing around: Like another prospect, LSU linebacker Devin White, Oliver has multiple horses.
He was asked at the combine about his interest in horses.
“Just as a young guy, one day I saw someone riding a horse down the street, and I said, ‘Hey Daddy, I want a horse.’ Him growing up in the country, horses are not foreign to him,” Oliver said. “About a month passed, and I had a horse. The first horse was named Caledonia. I loved that horse, and we got another horse named Oreo.
“I got into riding Oreo, and I swear, that horse tried to kill me a couple of times,” Oliver continued. “Fighting with that horse, really the reason I became fearless and why I can go up against 6-foot-5 and 300-pound guys is that it’s a walk in the park after you’ve fought with a 1,000-pound animal. I ain’t worried about no 300 pounds. I still have my first horse, Caledonia, and four horses in total.”