Buffalo Bills: Ed Oliver named breakout candidate for 2020 by PFF
The Buffalo Bills second-year defensive tackle was named as one of the top candidates to breakout candidates by Pro Football Focus.
This past season started off slow for Ed Oliver as the Buffalo Bills rookie struggled to make an impact early on. However, that all changed Week 10 and Oliver finished with five sacks over the final seven games, including four tackles for a loss.
The biggest game from Oliver’s rookie season came on national television on Thanksgiving against the Dallas Cowboys. That game he finished with four total tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one pass defended.
The hope is that he will carry that strong finish over into the 2020 season and breakout. Recently, Pro Football Focus named their top candidates among second-year players who can breakout and Oliver was part of this group.
"DI ED OLIVER, BUFFALO BILLSComing out of college, Ed Oliver was an undersized interior defender who had absurd movement skills but never quite had the college production those skills suggested should have been there. Much of that could be explained by how he was deployed at Houston, head up over linemen rather than aligned to shoot gaps and disrupt in the backfield. It led to him coming into the league behind the curve when it comes to development as a pass-rusher. As a rookie, he generated 31 total pressures from 374 pass-rushing snaps, resulting in a 62.4 PFF pass-rushing grade, but he showed flashes that all the potential is still there. Oliver was always likely to require a transition while he gets up to speed from a technical standpoint to match his athleticism and speed, so the Bills will be hoping Year 2 is where he breaks out."
The Buffalo Bills brought in a lot of talent along the defensive line, including defensive tackles Quinton Jefferson and Vernon Butler. In addition to Jefferson and Butler, the Bills will also be welcoming back Harrison Phillips, who suffered a knee injury early last year.
Even with all this added talent, Ed Oliver is expected to still be a key part of this defense. The Bills invested heavily in the undersized defensive tackle with using their ninth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
The coaching staff is likely expecting Oliver to be the starter at one of the tackle positions, likely alongside Star Lotulelei. The hope would be that Oliver can use his incredible speed and quickness to shoot through gaps and stop run plays in the backfield, as well as collapsing the pocket on passing downs.
The expectations are high for Ed Oliver but that is because the skill set he has creates an incredibly high ceiling. The hope is that the former first round pick reaches that potential in 2020 and breaks out like PFF, and many others, believe.