The Buffalo Bills made plenty of moves in the off-season, but one stands out above the others, according to Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton.
The Buffalo Bills have had one of the most productive off-seasons of any NFL team in 2019. From rebuilding the offensive line to adding a Hall of Fame running back, the offense is one of the most improved units in the league. But one non-offensive move takes the cake as the Bills’ best transaction action from the off-season: drafting defensive tackle Ed Oliver.
Bleacher Report’s Maurice Moton broke down each NFL team’s best move of the off-season, naming drafting Oliver for the Bills. In breaking it down, Moton mentioned that Oliver will help negate the loss of Kyle Williams, while also bolstering their pass-rush. The analyst supported his argument by saying;
The Buffalo Bills lost a franchise icon in defensive tackle Kyle Williams. He retired after 13 seasons, but the front office may have added a future Pro Bowler to fill his position during the draft.
At 281 pounds, Oliver ran a 4.73-second 40-yard dash at his pro day with 1.63 splits, per ESPN.com’s Sam Kahn Jr. On an even-man front, he could see one-on-one situations until offensive linemen respect his ability to apply constant pressure. The Bills pass rush needed a boost after finishing the 2018 campaign with 36 sacks (26th leaguewide).
Selecting Oliver at No. 9 overall was an easy, and excellent choice for the Bills. Before the start of the 2018 college football season, Oliver — out of the University of Houston — was in contention to be the No. 1 overall selection. Though that didn’t materialize, the talent is undoubtedly there, and worthy of a top draft pick.
Though Oliver isn’t the biggest defensive tackle at 6-foot-2 and 281-pounds, he’s earned favorable comparisons. He’s an athletic marvel as he recorded a 36-inch vertical, 120-inch broad jump, and 32 bench-press reps at the NFL Combine. At his pro-day, he recorded a 4.73 40-yard-dash, 7.15 three-cone-drill, and a blazing 4.22 short-shuttle time. His athleticism and size has led to one popular comparison: two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.
In college, Oliver proved to be an unblockable force, despite playing at his unnatural nose tackle position. During his three years at Houston, he tallied 159 total tackles, 13.5 sacks, 117 run-stops, 48 hurries, and 11 QB hits, per Pro Football Focus. Though his pass-rush numbers aren’t high, his impact — particular as an elite run-defender — in college was significant.
The Bills didn’t draft Oliver for need; they already have the solid grouping of Star Lotulelei, Harrison Phillips, and Jordan Phillips at the position, but it was undoubtedly the right pick. The hope is, from the get-go, that Oliver will shore up the team’s run-defense while developing his pass-rush moves to reach that Donald-esque ceiling.