Green Bay Packers Draft Prospects: Defensive Lineman Ed Oliver

We are a month away from the NFL draft. If you follow Aaron Nagler of CheeseheadTV on Twitter or Facebook and check out his Packers Daily segments, you will know that he is high on Houston Defensive Lineman Ed Oliver.

Aaron Nagler is not the only one that that is high on Ed Oliver. Two recent mock drafts, one by Matt Miller of Bleacher Report and the other by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, both have Oliver sliding to the Packers at number 12.

This would be a huge selection by General Manager Brian Gutekunst. There are several scouts across the league who are comparing Oliver to Los Angeles Rams Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald. Games can be won in the trenches. Oliver is a game changer, someone who can change the game with his power and speed, be a force up front, and provide a consistent pass rush.

In three seasons at Houston, Oliver registered 13.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, 14 pass break-ups, and 54 tackles for a loss. He has the speed to chase a running back 15 or 20 yards downfield. He has incredible determination, hustle, and strength needed to power past offensive lineman.

He doesn’t play a position of need right now but can be a force to be reckoned with down the road. Not to mention, he has an extremely high ceiling.

One of Oliver’s downsides is his lack of size and he gets swallowed up in the run game. Remember, defense wins championships. Oliver should not be overlooked by Gutekunst if he is available when the Packers are on the clock. A strong defensive line that can cause disruption and get pressure on the quarterback, will free up the linebackers and shorten the amount of time that the secondary is in coverage. Just think of a front unit that consists of Oliver, Preston Smith, Kenny Clark, Mike Daniels, and Za’Darius Smith. That is just scary and could potentially go down as one of the best in franchise history.

Adding a talent like Oliver to the defensive side of the football, would give Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine another tool in his tool box. Get lineman upfront who can generate a pass rush all by themselves, would allow Pettine to disguise is linebacker blitzes and his coverage packages.

Ed Oliver is 6 foot 1 inch, 275 pounds, and an all around physical specimen. If he is available at number 12, the Packers front office and coaching staff need to think long and hard about drafting a defensive lineman who could turn out to be an All-Pro down the road.

Anthony Haag is a writer for PackersTalk.com. He has been a Packers fan since the day he was born and truly bleeds green and gold. He makes annual visits to Lambeau Field and has attended his fair share of games. You can follow Anthony on Twitter at @anthony_haag

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