Houston DL Oliver goes fast at pro day

Field Level Media

March 28, 2019 at 7:40 pm.

Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who skipped some on-field drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, likely helped solidify his high draft stock at the Cougars’ pro day on Thursday.

Oliver is considered a potential top-five selection in the draft.

His official numbers were 4.73 seconds for the 40-yard dash, 4.22 seconds for the short shuttle and 7.15 seconds for the 3-cone drill.

For context, Oliver’s short shuttle was 0.02 seconds faster than the time posted at the 2018 combine by running back Saquan Barkley, who went on to become the second pick in the draft and rush for 1,307 yards as a rookie for the New York Giants.

Oliver’s 40 time would have been the third-fastest among defensive linemen at this year’s combine. His 1.63-second 10-yard split was faster than the combine number (1.69) of Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, another potential top-five pick.

Oliver checked in Thursday at 281 pounds, six pounds lighter than he was at the combine.

“Being light helps,” he said on NFL Network about his 40 time. “I felt like I could have went way faster than that, but it wasn’t about running a fast 40. It was about coming out here and competing and having fun.

“When I heard what I ran, I was cool with it. I’m not going to hurt myself running a 4.6 just because everyone wants to see a 4.6.”

Oliver, who is 6-foot-2, often played at Houston as an undersized nose tackle. He had 53 tackles for loss, including 13.5 sacks, in 28 career games. Oliver won the 2018 Outland Trophy, given the nation’s top interior lineman.

Given his athleticism, there has been speculation that Oliver could play linebacker in the NFL.

“Every coach has a different vision of where they see me playing,” Oliver said. “Wherever a coach feels comfortable with me playing, I’m more than comfortable playing that, whether it be outside ‘backer to tackle to end to nose guard.

“I can play the whole line. Wherever you want me to play in the front seven, I’m pretty sure I can play it. It’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m not worried about.”