Here at SideLion Report, we will be previewing potential Detroit Lions‘ draftees as the draft draws closer. This week, we look at Houston’s Ed Oliver.
The Detroit Lions have recently addressed a few of their defensive needs in free agency, as they recently signed defensive end Trey Flowers to bolster the unit up front, as well as Justin Coleman to play as the cornerback opposite Pro Bowler Darius Slay.
Despite these editions to the young defense, the Lions could still use a few more athletes on that side of the ball, particularly a versatile EDGE rusher who can be trusted to not only pressure the quarterback, but also to drop back into a pass set in nickel coverage.
If he manages to fall to Detroit at the eighth overall draft slot, Houston’s Ed Oliver would be an ideal draft pick, as he perfectly fits the description in the previous paragraph.
Head coach Matt Patricia likes to have his team run an unconventional defense, with multiple defensive line sets and secondary coverage plots to confuse the defense.
Oliver played everywhere from nose tackle to outside linebacker at Houston, making him a valuable cog that can be place in multiple places in the Detroit defensive machine.
Being able to move around the entire front seven and wreak havoc from multiple positions is the main reason why the Lions sought after Flowers this offseason, and with the former Patriot already in place, he can be somewhat of a mentor to the young Oliver.
Mostly playing nose tackle at Houston is mainly why Oliver’s sack and tackle numbers weren’t super impressive in his college career, as he racked up 192 total tackles, 53 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in his three seasons as a Cougar.
Oliver was able to flex his athleticism and turn some heads at the combine, getting 32 reps in the bench press while posting a 36 inch vertical and a 120 inch broad jump.
Part of the reason why Oliver showed to be a lot more athletic than the majority of defensive linemen in this year’s class is because he’s a smidge undersized, weighing in at 287 pounds and being listed at 6-foot-2. Oliver also has short arms for his height, which many scouts have been weary of.
This is not the only red flag that Oliver flies, as possible behavioral issues may be a reason for the Lions to stay away. The viral altercation he got into with an assistant coach over a jacket earlier this season proved that he can tend to be a little testy when he doesn’t get his way.
But behavior aside, the speed and versatility that Oliver provides make him an candidate to make an instant impact once he touches an NFL field. That ability to make an impact everywhere in the front seven is exactly why the Detroit Free Press slotted Oliver to the Lions in their most recent mock draft.
The raw potential that Oliver has to be double-digit sack machine makes the behavior issues worth the risk, as Oliver proved in this highlight tape that he can make NFL quarterbacks and running backs fear him pretty soon.
Being that most mocks have him slotted in the top five, Ed Oliver may very well be unavailable for the Detroit Lions to draft. But should he fall to the No. 8 spot, general manager Bob Quinn needs to at least consider drafting the man who might be the last piece towards building an elite Detroit defense.