Round 1, Pick 9: Ed Oliver
When people discuss the Buffalo Bills, the first word that comes to mind, especially over the last few years, is defense.
Not known as a team that will hang 50 points on the board and throw touchdown after touchdown, the modern-day Buffalo Bills self-identify as a team that will score just enough points and hold their opponent to just enough to win. This identity has been with the Bills since the days of the “cold front” defensive line. Consisting of Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus, Mario Williams and Jerry Hughes (the only player remaining), the appropriately named Buffalo defensive line was a quarterback’s worst nightmare. Recording a grand total of 136 tackles and 13 sacks on the campaign, Buffalo was one of the most feared in the league.
Unfortunately, the “cold front” was disbanded the following year as Dareus was traded to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Mario signed with the Miami Dolphins.
With this being nearly five years ago, Buffalo could not pass on the chance to select a difference-maker on the defensive line to help bring that team back to glory. That is why with the ninth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected defensive tackle Ed Oliver out of the University of Houston.
During his time at his hometown U of H, Oliver played three seasons for the cougars, recording 122 total tackles and 13.5 sacks. In his 2018 Junior year, Oliver was named a Consensus All-American, earned a FWAA First Team All-American nod alongside a Walter Camp First Team All-American and a Phil Steele First Team All-American nod as well.
With all the accolades Oliver received, he chose to forgo his senior season and declare for the NFL Draft, being taken by Buffalo.
At the start of his NFL career, Oliver showed signs of struggling as he had played in four games but yet to record his first NFL sack. Luckily for Oliver, that all changed in a Week 7 matchup against the Miami Dolphins where he recorded his first sack. Oliver would go onto have a productive rookie season, finishing with 43 tackles, five sacks and a forced fumble.
Playing a position that generally goes unnoticed, Oliver made his presence felt. Typically going against full-grown NFL veterans on the offensive line, Oliver showed he was fit for the challenge as he was able to use his leverage to get underneath the opposing centers and guards to cause disturbance In the backfield.
Oliver is now recovering from an offseason surgery and is poised to make another great run with the Bills defence next year now that he knows what to expect.