The important thing to look at is how Ed Oliver fits with the Atlanta Falcons. His ability to win at the point of attack would certainly help the Atlanta Falcons run defense. The Dirty Birds defense ranked number 27 in the NFL against the run this past season, allowing 259.6 yards per game.
However the lack of pass rush production in college, means Ed Oliver does not project to immediately boost the Atlanta Falcons’ number 22 ranked pass rush.
Position wise Ed Oliver projects as a three technique defensive tackle, or a five technique defensive end in a 3-4 defense. That’s problematic because Grady Jarrett plays the three technique in the Atlanta Falcons defense.
While either Jarrett or Oliver could potentially play well at the one technique, it would put either man at a disadvantage, having to face a substantial amount of double teams while being undersized.
The Atlanta run defense has historically been at its best, when anchored by a massive defensive tackle. Most recently the Falcons defense finished number nine against the run in 2017, anchored by 345 pound defensive tackle Dontari Poe. Poe left Atlanta to sign with the division rival Carolina Panthers.
Should the Atlanta Falcons to fail in their quest to resign Grady Jarrett, Ed Oliver would be an ideal prospect to replace Jarrett. However Oliver is less than the ideal running mate to play next to Grady Jarrett.
If Grady Jarrett is retained and Ed Oliver is still on the board when the Atlanta Falcons draft at number 14, the Atlanta Falcons will be faced with an interesting decision. They will have to determine rather to go with the best fit, verses the best potential upside. It is imperative that Thomas Dimitroff chooses wisely.