Any time a defensive tackle wears a non-traditional number like 11, he better be a baller. Fortunately, that is definitely the case with Ed Oliver, who is considered one of the top defensive tackles in the nation in the 2016 recruiting class.
He’s an athletic marvel for his size and is just tapping into how dominant he can become as a football player.
Oliver runs like a much smaller player than his size would indicate and shows great quickness. He had a 100 yard fumble return for a touchdown, which is remarkable for a player at his position. Even though he is over 280 right now, he looks like he could easily get to over 300 pounds with a frame to carry it.
He flashes a very good snap anticipation and an explosive first step that got better as the season progressed as a junior. Consistently plays with good pad level. The biggest thing Oliver needs to improve on is his hands. He doesn’t always bring them and isn’t consistently violent with them. He wins right now by being bigger and more athletic than the people that are attempting to block him. He’ll need to bring in a better punch in order to win at the next level.
That lack of punch sometimes stifles him at the line when he could be getting penetration into the backfield. When he does use his hands more, he’s borderline unblockable because of his athleticism. It’s the next step for him to show as a senior.
He shows a good GPS for the football. It sounds cliche to say he has a nose for the football, but he finds the ball better than just about all defensive linemen at the prep level. It starts with him doing a nice job of recognizing blocks and then shedding them to pursue the football.
He shows the potential to be a fantastic interior pass rusher because of his first step quickness. He has a great bull rush. Once he develops his hands and pass rush moves more, he is going to be great in this area of the game.
I could see Oliver playing either the 3 or 1 technique in a 4-3 and even a 5 technique end in a 3-4 defense. When you are as big and athletic as he is, there really isn’t a scheme that won’t fit.
The more I watched of Ed Oliver, the more I loved what I saw. He has some technical things he needs to improve on, but his athleticism and instincts for the position are so rare that it makes you forget about his deficiencies. Once he improves on the technical side of his game, he has the potential to be an All-American caliber player at the college level for whichever program he decides to attend.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach). In addition to here, he breaks down Virginia Tech recruits for 247Sports’ VTscoop.com, Notre Dame recruits for SB Nation’s One Foot Down, and is the recruiting editor for SB Nation’s Pac-12 blog, Pacific Takes. Jamie is also the former Sr. Editor, Digital Content and News for theScore.com.