Ed Oliver

AFC East Notes: Oliver, Dolphins, Thuney

Montgomery County (Texas) authorities are dropping charges against tackle Ed Oliver, Mark Berman of Fox 26 reports (on Twitter). The Bills defensive tackle was arrested on charges of DWI and unlawfully carrying a weapon in May. Attorney Gary Patterson said, via Berman, a lack of evidence prompted the charges to be dropped. Oliver may still face NFL punishment, but the 2020 CBA limited Roger Goodell‘s disciplinary powers on personal conduct issues. It is now certainly possible Oliver will be available for the Bills in Week 1.

Here is the latest from the AFC East:

  • The NFL gave teams the option of having rookies report to training camp Tuesday, but Dolphins first-year players are set to arrive at the team’s facility Thursday, Barry Jackson and Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald note. Florida has become a global hot spot for the coronavirus, and the NFLPA had expressed concerns about teams opening up camp in certain areas. South Florida, Houston, Phoenix and Los Angeles were the locales the union mentioned, per Jackson, and it called for an emergency meeting of team doctors whose franchises reside in the most-affected areas. But the medical experts did not indicate camps in those places needed to be moved.
  • Minutes before the legal tampering period began in March, the Patriots surprisingly used their franchise tag to keep Joe Thuney off the market. The Patriots joining 11 other teams in opting not to sign a franchise-tagged player to an extension last week could point to Thuney being on the trade market. But the post-Tom Brady Pats are only carrying a $4.4MM combined cap charge at quarterback — a league-low figure, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes this will allow for more flexibility to carry Thuney’s $14.78MM tag number this season. While some major changes occurred in New England, the Pats are set to return five starting offensive linemen.
  • While Bills, Giants and Jets players will not have to quarantine for 14 days upon returning to the tri-state area, Patriots players who have spent their offseasons outside the New England region will need to do so upon arrival in the state where they work.

Latest On Bills DL Ed Oliver

Ed Oliver will continue to participate in the Bills’ offseason program, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (Twitter link). Meanwhile, the defensive lineman is facing charges for gun possession and driving while intoxicated following his Saturday night arrest.

[RELATED: Bills’ Ed Oliver Arrested On Gun, DWI Charges]

The Bills plan to let the legal process take its course, Pelissero hears, though it’s not immediately clear how the league office will proceed. Ideally, the Bills would like to have last year’s No. 9 overall pick on the field in 2020. Oliver showed serious potential with five sacks in his rookie year and he’s slated to take on an even larger role now that Jordan Phillips is out of the picture.

Last year, Phillips led the team with 9.5 sacks, but the Bills allowed him to walk in free agency knowing that Oliver could keep the pressure on. If Oliver’s availability is in doubt, the Bills may have to explore some out-of-house options for the front seven. For now, they’re projected to start Oliver, Mario Addison, Star Lotulelei, and Jerry Hughes on the front four. Meanwhile, they’ve got Quinton Jefferson, Vernon Butler, and Harrison Phillips among their backup options for the interior.

In other Bills news, GM Brandon Beane says he did not have any interest in a Sammy Watkins reunion this year. Watkins’ account may be slightly different, but in any case, the Bills are mostly set at wide receiver now that they have former Vikings superstar Stefon Diggs on board.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills’ Ed Oliver Arrested On Gun, DWI Charges

Bills defensive lineman Ed Oliver was arrested in Houston on Saturday night, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Police say Oliver had an open beer and a pistol when they pulled him over. Then, he failed a field sobriety test (via Montgomery County Police Reporter). Oliver also underwent a mandatory blood test to determine exactly what was in his system, but there were no drugs found in his car.

Oliver, 22, was the Bills’ No. 9 overall pick in the 2019 draft. As a rookie, he notched 43 tackles, five sacks, two passes defended, and a forced fumble. Before all of this, Oliver was on course for a potential breakout year, especially with last year’s sack leader Jordan Phillips in Arizona. He’s currently set to enter the second year of his four-year, $19.675MM deal, though this weekend’s incident could impact his availability. If Oliver is suspended under the personal conduct policy, he’ll forfeit his remaining $6.8MM in guarantees, as Michael Ginnitti of Spotrac tweets.

Per the 911 caller, the University of Houston product was weaving in-and-out of lanes and “driving dangerously,” prompting police to chase him down. It’s the latest in a series of troubling events for NFL players over the last week.

On Wednesday, Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar and Giants cornerback Deandre Baker allegedly robbed fellow partygoers at gunpoint in Florida. On Saturday morning, Colorado police say that Redskins wide receiver Cody Latimer fired a gun inside of an apartment. Four NFL players, three days, and 14+ cumulative charges, including several felonies. Oliver has joined the list of players who may be in serious trouble with the law, as well as the league office.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: Which Top 10 Pick Has The Highest Bust Potential?

The NFL Draft is just barely in the rear view mirror, which means that teams are full of hope for their young rookies. But, of course, the NFL Draft is largely a crapshoot, and not every player will realize their full potential. 

This year’s draft had talent, but lacked a true consensus on the top player. Many evaluators pegged defensive end Nick Bosa as the player with the highest ceiling in the 2019 class, but other saw Alabama’s Quinnen Williams as the “safest bet.” The 49ers pounced on Bosa with the No. 2 pick while the Jets (and former GM Mike Maccagnan) were delighted to land Williams at No. 3 overall.

Leading up to the draft, much of the attention was on Oklahoma quarterback (and one-time MLB hopeful) Kyler Murray. When Murray announced that he would ditch the Oakland A’s, his stock exploded – Murray was considered a borderline first-round prospect in the winter, but wound up as the Cardinals’ choice at No. 1 overall. Murray has the speed that teams crave at the QB position, but questions persist about his size and overall lack of experience as a full-time starter.

The Cardinals’ long flirtation with Murray brought us the expected result, but the Raiders gave us the real first shock of the draft when they tapped Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell at No. 4 overall. Not to be outdone, the Giants snagged Duke’s Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall. Heading into the draft, neither player was thought to be anywhere near Top 10 consideration, but Mike Mayock and Dave Gettleman were unwilling to trade down and risk losing out on their guys.

The domino effect created by those picks allowed the Bucs to grab inside linebacker Devin White (No. 5 overall), the Jaguars to land outside linebacker Josh Allen (No. 6), the Lions to snag top tight end T.J. Hockenson, the Bills to draft defensive tackle Ed Oliver (No. 9 overall), and the Steelers to finish out the Top 10 with linebacker Devin Bush. Most of those picks were warmly received, but nothing is certain in the draft.

Which Top 10 pick do you think has the highest bust potential? Click below to cast your vote (link for app users) and back up your choice in the comment section.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Sign DT Ed Oliver

The Bills have their top 2019 draft choice under contract. Ed Oliver signed his four-year deal on Thursday, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter).

Oliver can be under Bills control through 2023, via the fifth-year option. He signed a $19.675MM deal, the slot price for this year’s No. 9 overall pick, that contains a $12.239MM signing bonus. The Houston alum is expected to be a regular contributor in his first NFL season.

Having received Aaron Donald comparisons, Oliver drew interest from numerous teams. The Jets were linked to him at No. 3 overall, but after the Raiders and Giants made unexpected picks, Oliver fell to the Bills at 9. They will likely plug him into their three-technique slot.

Oliver joins a Bills defense that ranked second in yardage and DVOA last season. He will succeed Kyle Williams on Buffalo’s front, the 21-year-old trekking to western New York after recording 53 tackles for loss in three Cougars seasons.

East Rumors: Bills, Jernigan, Fins, Giants

Prior to the Giants’ selection of Daniel Jones, the Bills were engaged in talks to move down from their No. 9 spot. In a must-watch piece for Bills fans and draft buffs, Brandon Beane allowed partial access to his team’s draft room (video link). Buffalo scrapped talks to trade down once New York selected Jones, with Beane zeroing in on Ed Oliver shortly after. It appeared the Bills, despite taking Dawson Knox in Round 3, did not have interest in T.J. Hockenson, the Lions’ selection at No. 8. Applause occurred after Detroit left Oliver on the board.

The Bills also offered an undisclosed team picking in the 20s, which initiated the talks, picks 40, 131 and 147. (Beane said multiple teams contacted him to inquire if the Bills wanted to move back into Round 1.) But said team did not believe that was enough to move out of the round. This move was likely for Cody Ford. The Bills attempted to trade up higher than they did in order to land Ford in the second round, with members of their draft room showing relief the Panthers — whom Bills execs assumed were taking the Oklahoma lineman — before striking a deal with the Raiders for No. 38. The Bills also rebuffed a Bears offer to move out of No. 74, which ended up sending running back Devin Singletary to Buffalo.

Moving to an NFCer’s defensive line situation, here is the latest from the East divisions:

  • The Eagles released Timmy Jernigan but brought him back at what turned out to be a substantial discount. After signing a four-year, $48MM extension late in 2017, Jernigan had to settle for a one-year, $1.25MM deal, Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports. This comes with $1MM guaranteed, including a $250K signing bonus. Another $750K is available in incentives, per Frank. Jernigan now enters what will be a significant season for his career trajectory. A full-time starter for the Super Bowl champion Eagles edition, Jernigan will only be 27 by the time free agency opens in 2020.
  • Currently at the Vikings‘ rookie camp, Sean McGuire appears to have another suitor in the event Minnesota does not sign him. The Dolphins are interested in adding the Western Illinois quarterback prospect, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). The Dolphins want to add a quarterback before their rookie camp begins May 10, Jackson continues. Miami now has Josh Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick and former Lions backup Jake Rudock on its roster. The Dolphins cut Luke Falk earlier this week. McGuire would seemingly compete for a third-string job or practice squad slot in Miami.
  • The Dolphins are likely to turn to the veteran offensive line market as well, Jackson writes, adding only four players — Laremy Tunsil, Daniel Kilgore, fellow starter Jesse Davis and third-round pick Michael Deiter — are true locks to make the roster. Although Jackson adds sixth-round pick Isaiah Prince and UFA signing Chris Reed will likely make the team as well, he notes the team appears ready to explore some additional help. Jared Veldheer, Donald Penn, Jermey Parnell, Mike Remmers, Andy Levitre and Stefen Wisniewski are some of the notable vets available.
  • Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine did not show for their rookie minicamp this weekend. The team wants the recent gunshot victim to stay in Kansas and be with family, according to SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano (on Twitter). The Washburn-developed cornerback is expected to make a full recovery and attempt to make Big Blue’s 53-man roster — one without many surefire answers at corner.
  • Former Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey is officially listed on the Giants’ roster as a quarterback/tight end, Jordan Raanan of ESPN.com tweets. Dungey was a dual-threat player for the Orange, finishing his career with 1,993 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns.

Breer’s Latest: Jets, Broncos, Rudolph

Some assorted notes from SI.com’s Albert Breer leading up to tonight’s draft…

  • The Jets are beginning to gain some traction on a deal involving the third-overall pick. Breer mentions that the Redskins could be a match, with the team presumably eyeing a quarterback. Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins could be an option, as could Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray (if he isn’t taken with the first-overall pick). Breer notes that if the Jets remain in the top-10, they could opt for Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver, who one scout described as “the epitome of a [defensive coordinator] Gregg Williams player.”
  • Missouri quarterback Drew Lock is “rising continuously in draft meetings” among the Broncos front office. The team could be eyeing him with pick No. 10, or they could be preparing for a scenario where Lock falls towards the bottom of the first round.
  • After paying Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter, the Vikings could be looking to deal one of their other pricey veterans. Tight end Kyle Rudolph could be a trade candidate, and Breer writes that he wouldn’t be shocked if the Patriots make a play for the pass-catcher. The writer mentions cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes as well as wideout Laquon Treadwell as trade candidates.
  • Two players who are set to play on their fifth-year option are on the block. Breer writes that Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor and 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead “have been part of trade discussions.” On the flip side, Breer believes that it’s unlikely that the 49ers trade defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.
  • If Mississippi State’s Montez Sweat gets past the Redskins (No. 15), Panthers (No. 16), or Seahawks (No.21), Breer is unsure how far the defensive end could end up falling. Breer points to the Rams as a potential fit at the end of the first round. Reports indicated that Sweat was diagnosed with a heart condition, although there were rumblings today that he may have been misdiagnosed.

Latest On Jets’ No. 3 Overall Pick

Kyler Murray and Joey Bosa have been predicted to head to the NFC West for weeks. If that does not happen, the draft will become captivating from the start. But the Jets are not viewed as likely to have a shot at Bosa.

The pass rusher-seeking team, though, may be ready to make a surprise pick at No. 3. Linked to Josh Allen and Quinnen Williams, the Jets instead are believed to be high on Ed Oliver. Jets coaches have been pushing for Oliver, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. This would cap a resurgence for the Houston-honed prospect.

This coincides with NBC Sports’ Peter King indicating the Jets are not enamored with Allen, the player viewed as the next-best edge rusher to Bosa in this draft. Allen improved his stock by coming back for his senior season at Kentucky, and Brian Costello of the New York Post writes the Jets are a bit concerned about the edge prospect being a one-year wonder. He posted 17 sacks as a senior after registering seven apiece in his sophomore and junior seasons.

Oliver announced before his junior season he would turn pro at its conclusion. He only played in eight games in 2018 and finished with Cougars career lows in sacks (three) and tackles for loss (14.5). The 6-foot-2 interior rusher would seemingly be a better fit in a 4-3 scheme, but despite the Jets sticking with their 3-4 look, Gregg Williams obviously has extensive experience using a 4-3.

Of course, this late Oliver rise may be a smokescreen. Those do peak in April. An NFL executive, per SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano, believes this Oliver-Jets buzz is centered around coaxing the Raiders to trade up a spot to nab him. The Raiders — who use a 4-3 scheme — are believed to “love” Oliver, per Costello. However, Vacchiano adds Gregg Williams is indeed pro-Oliver.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Draft Notes: Jones, Brown, Bills, Raiders

Beyond Kyler Murray‘s long-rumored Cardinals fit, landing spots for this draft’s other top quarterbacks are difficult to determine. But Daniel Jones, despite not exactly having impressive college statistics, has gained more steam as a first-round pick. One team has the Duke prospect as the top quarterback on its board, according to Yahoo.com’s Charles Robinson (on Twitter). The Giants are believed to be high on him. So are the Patriots. While one scout wondered (via Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com) if the former Blue Devils signal-caller would slip to the third round had he not played under David Cutcliffe, who coached both Manning brothers when they were college passers, another scout and a former GM said (via NBC Sports Washington’s Ben Standig) they each would take Jones over Drew Lock. It certainly looks Jones will land in the first round next week.

Here is the latest from the 2019 draft talent pool:

  • Another first-round hopeful, Marquise Brown, also looks like a lock to hear his name called Thursday. The Oklahoma-honed speedster may be the only guaranteed wideout to go off the board in Round 1, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes, after speaking with NFL staffers. Said execs then place Ole Miss alums D.K. Metcalf and A.J. Brown as possible first-rounders, per Miller. That would stand to make the second round potentially filled with receiver investments. The 49ers have some names in mind.
  • On the subject of the 49ers, they visited with tight end Noah Fant recently, per Sirius XM Radio’s Alex Marvez (on Twitter). This profiles as an interesting use of a visit, with the 49ers closely connected to Nick Bosa at No. 2 and not needing a tight end. But San Francisco did do well with its past Iowa investment at this position, with George Kittle breaking out in a major way in 2018.
  • Despite Rashan Gary‘s past as a top-10 national recruit and his Combine performance, another report has indicated his stock has dipped a bit. After a Thursday report pointed to the Michigan defensive lineman dropping, Miller adds teams are concerned about how little his athleticism translated to production (9.5 sacks in three seasons). Additionally, Miller doubles down on the medical concerns surrounding Gary. Some scouts believe there will be issues on that front, potentially with Gary’s shoulder, which was a trouble spot during his Wolverines run.
  • Ed Oliver‘s stock has risen a bit in the days leading up to the draft, and the Bills are in play for the interior defender at No. 9, Miller writes, adding Buffalo wants to add a bona fide interior pass-rushing presence to complement the space-eating defensive tackles it currently employs.
  • The Raiders ditched their scouting staff going into the draft and are expected to overhaul the department under new GM Mike Mayock. On draft weekend, Oakland’s non-Mayock/Jon Gruden staffers involved in the three-day event will be assistant director of player personnel Trey Scott and director of football administration Tom Delaney, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. Delaney has been with the Raiders dating back to the first Gruden era; Scott rose to his current position under Reggie McKenzie‘s watch two years ago.

NFL Draft Rumors: Ravens, Bush, Titans

Here’s a look at the latest NFL Draft buzz as players take their final visits:

  • Michigan linebacker Devin Bush will visit the Ravens on Wednesday, a source tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Baltimore holds the No. 22 overall pick, but they may have to trade up if they want to land him. The Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year is a surefire first-rounder after putting up 85 tackles, 10 sacks, and 18.5 tackles for loss over the past two years.
  • Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown and Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell will take their last pre-draft visits to the Titans on Wednesday, according to Rapoport (on Twitter). Both players could be on the radar for Tennessee’s No. 19 overall selection.
  • Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver will meet with the Bills, Rapoport hears. They’re far from the only team interested in Oliver, however, and the rival Jets are apparently among the clubs keen on him. The Jets would be reaching if they took Oliver at No. 3 overall, but they’ve been vocal about their desire to trade down. Meanwhile, the Bills could conceivably entertain the Houston product at No. 9 overall.