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Todd McShay sends Ed Oliver to the Atlanta Falcons in his Mock 2.0

The explosive defensive tackle has been a popular pick for the Falcons.

Houston v Rice Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

It is only February but you better believe we are knee deep in mock drafts. Todd McShay is one of the top draft experts in the NFL so we like to keep an eye on his picks in particular. He’s got a lot of sources that help give his opinion credence over where teams are heading and where players will be drafted.

His first mock had the Falcons grabbing big defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. The player changes but McShay’s analysis remains the same: the Falcons must upgrade their awful run defense. I suggest a healthy Deion Jones and Keanu Neal will help improve things but the defensive line needs talent one way or another.

The selection? You’ve heard of him before. That’s right, it’s popular Falcons pick Ed Oliver.

But even as Oliver slides down draft boards, his ability to be disruptive and burst out of his stance is fun to watch. The Falcons were in the bottom five in run defense last season.

Our draft junkie Kevin Knight wrote up a scouting report on Oliver a few weeks back. Check it out for a deep dive but this stood out to me.

Ed Oliver is an elite DT prospect at the NFL level. He’s an ideal fit at 3T in a 4-3 defense, though he’s got the potential to be moved around—particularly in a scheme like the Falcons use. His movement skills, deep understanding of leverage, and impressive strength make him a 3-down player that can excel against both the run and pass—despite concerns about him being “undersized”.

Oliver’s athleticism is highlighted in every scouting report on the Houston defensive tackle, with Knight suggesting he should be a top-5 selection. His draft stock, at least among the mock draft community, has fallen due to size concerns and an uneven and injury-filled final season at Houston that lacked much development.

Knight believes Oliver and Grady Jarrett can become an elite duo penetrating defensive lineman that fell in the draft due to size concerns. Defensive tackle might not be the biggest need compared to the edge or right tackle and guard spots but it would be a huge improvement for the underperforming line.