Round 1 - Pick 8
Ed Oliver DL
NFL DRAFT • SOPH • 6’1" / 287 LBS
The Lions had Oliver sitting there, ready to be taken, in the 2019 draft but opted for T.J. Hockenson instead. Oliver would give Detroit the interior pass rush it desperately needs.
- Detroit Lions: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
8 OF 32
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
Original Selection: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa
While the Jaguars pass on Ed Oliver, the Detroit Lions do not. They need defensive help—Detroit finished the year 31st in total defense—and Oliver is the best defender still on the board.
While an edge-rusher or cornerback would also make sense, Oliver is too rare a talent to bypass. He can stonewall runners at the line of scrimmage and penetrate the backfield to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. This season, he amassed 43 tackles, five sacks, two passes defended and a forced fumble with the Buffalo Bills—who originally drafted him one spot later.
Originally, the Lions took former Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson in this spot. While his upside is intriguing, Hockenson was limited to 12 games and seven starts. He flashed at times but finished his rookie season with just 367 receiving yards and two touchdowns on 32 catches.
Oliver is the safer pick and fills the greater need, so Detroit grabs him.