player photo

Melvin Oliver

Height: 6-3 | Weight: 276 | College: LSU
 
Copyright NFLDraftScout.com, distributed by The Sports Xchange
Overview

Oliver is a two-year starter for the Tigers who really came into his own during his senior year. He established himself as one of the South's top pass rushers in 2005 and was one of the major reasons LSU ranked third in the nation in total defense (266.85 ypg) and sixth against the run (91.54 ypg).

Those pass rushing skills date back to his days at Opelika High School, when he helped the team to an 11-2 overall mark as a senior. Opelika High was the top-rated defense in Alabama and ranked first in the state in points allowed per game. He registered 80 tackles, including 16 for losses, had 14 sacks and recovered one fumble. For that performance, he earned first-team Class 6A All-State and All-District honors.

Arriving at Louisiana State in 2001, the coaching staff decided to let him redshirt and develop his frame that season. He appeared in thirteen games in 2002, earning second-team Freshman All-American and first-team Freshman All-Southeastern Conference honors from The Sporting News. He finished his first season with the varsity by making 29 tackles (12 solos), and his six sacks were the second-best season total by freshman in school history.

As a sophomore, Oliver was utilized in a rotation system on the front line and started only one game. He collected 31 tackles (17 solos) with four sacks, seven pressures, three pass deflections and two fumble recoveries. Oliver took over right defensive end duties in 2004, starting nine games there and one at left end. He registered 36 tackles (18 solos), but had only one sack with four pressures. He also deflected two passes and intercepted another.

As a senior in 2005, Oliver shifted to left defensive end. He ranked third on the team with a career-high 69 tackles (38 solos). He led the team and ranked third in the SEC with nine sacks. He also led the team with eleven stops behind the line of scrimmage and had fourteen quarterback pressures.

In 52 games for the Tigers, Oliver started 24 times. He finished with 165 tackles (85 solos), 26.5 stops for losses of 125 yards and 28 quarterback pressures. He also had 20 sacks for minus-108 yards, the fourth-best career total in school annals. He recovered two fumbles, deflected eight passes and returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown.

Analysis

Positives: Very effective at anticipating the snap count, which gives him an advantage coming off the ball vs. slower offensive tackles … Lacks timed speed, but takes proper angles and shows urgency closing on the quarterback … Defensive tackle experience lets him be a functional operator shooting the inside gaps, slipping nicely through tight quarters … Developed better hand usage as an edge rusher in 2005, displaying effective swim and rip moves while also attacking the chest of the blocker with his hands … Has enough leg drive to push and collapse the pocket … Has enough burst to pursue from the backside.

Negatives: Lacks ideal speed and looks sluggish at times trying to accelerate past the line of scrimmage … Will throttle down when not involved in the play … Has good lower body strength, but needs to add more bulk and muscle tone to his upper body … Needs several reps to retain plays … Struggles to locate the ball once the blocker locks on to him … Has good hand usage coming off the edge as a pass rusher, but needs to be more active with his hands in attempts to protect his feet from double teams … Does not have the raw power and leverage to stack and control blockers … Slow-twitched runner who is better working inside the box, as he fails to keep his feet and balance when pursuing in space … Needs to develop more aggression in his play.

Oliver has an adequate frame with decent upper body muscle development, good chest thickness, broad shoulders and good bubble, but will need to add more strength and bulk to compete at the next level. He has an adequate initial move off the snap, but is not explosive. He needs several reps to retain plays and will struggle to locate the ball once he is engaged with the offensive lineman.

He is best when given a free lane off the edge, as he takes good angles in backside pursuit and has the change of direction agility to squeeze the cutback lanes. His limited functional strength will prevent him from working inside at tackle and he needs to do a better job of containing and disengaging at the point of attack.

Oliver does an effective job when working on stunts, getting through tight quarters with his straight-line charge. He plays too upright at times and will get handled by double teams, but has shown the lower body power to maintain position with running plays directed at him. He must be active with his hands in order to gain separation coming off the edge, but will recover with his feet to move and free himself.

Oliver has marginal timed speed, but will give effort working down the line. He is best when allowed to pursue from the backside. He can wrap and control runners at the line of scrimmage, but will lose some body control when pursuing in space. When he does execute the hit, he stays low in his pads to generate more pop to knock ballcarriers back. In 2005, he showed good improvement playing on his feet. He just appeared too sluggish and like he was throttling down too often during his junior season.

While he does not have enough upper body strength to shed and disengage, he has the functional short area balance to bring his feet when closing. He has developed a good feel to counter the offensive tackle and demonstrates proper knee bend coming off the edge. He also is effective at anticipating the snap, which allows him to surprise some of the slower blockers with his charge into the backfield.

Career Notes

Ranks fourth in school history with twenty quarterback sacks, topped only by Gabe Northern (21, 1992-95), Ron Sancho (23, 1985-88) and Rydell Malancon (1980-83) … His nine sacks in 2005 rank fourth on the school's single-season record list behind Malancon (10 in 1981), Northern (11 in 1994) and Oliver Lawrence (12 in 1989) … His six sacks in 2002 were the second-best season total by a freshman for the Tigers, surpassed only by Jarvis Green (8 in 1998).

2005 Season

Started every game at left defensive end, helping a defensive unit that ranked third in the nation with an average of 266.85 yards per game allowed, sixth in rushing, allowing only 91.54 yards per game on the ground and third in scoring, allowing only 14.23 points per game … Named Southeastern Conference Defensive Lineman of the Week vs. Arkansas … Ranked third on the team with 69 tackles (38 solos) and led the Tigers with nine sacks for minus 53 yards and eleven stops for losses of 57 yards … His nine sacks ranked third in the SEC and tied for fourth on the school's season-record list … Credited with fourteen quarter-back pressures and deflected a pass.

2005 Game Analysis

Arizona State … Opened the season with three tackles (2 solos) … Head to Head Competition -- OT Andrew Carnahan.

Tennessee … Collected five tackles (4 assists), teaming with linebacker Cameron Vaughn to stop tailback Gerald Riggs for a 2-yard loss on a run off left tackle midway through the first quarter … Head to Head Competition -- OT Albert Toeaina.

Mississippi State … Made seven tackles (5 solos) with two pressures and a pair of sacks for minus 9 yards … Sacked QB Omarr Conner for a 3-yard loss on a third-and-12 play, forcing MSU to punt midway through the third quarter … On MSU's next drive, Oliver tackled tailback Jonathan Lowe for no gain on a run off left end and on the next play (third-and-10), Williams killed another drive when he again sacked Conner for minus 6 yards … Head to Head Competition -- OT Avery House.

Vanderbilt … Only made two solo tackles, but one resulted in a 3-yard sack of QB Jay Cutler on a third-and-13 play at the start of the second quarter … Head to Head Competition -- OT Brian Stamper.

Florida … Delivered six tackles (3 solos), three pressures and a 9-yard sack of QB Chris Leak with 1:05 left in the game … Head to Head Competition -- OT Lance Butler.

Auburn … Totaled seven tackles (5 assists) and joined linebacker Ali Highsmith in taking down Carl Stewart for a 1-yard loss on a run up the middle at the start of the fourth quarter … Was penalized five yards for jumping offside on a third-and-22 play early in the third quarter … Head to Head Competition -- OT Troy Reddick.

North Texas … Followed with four hits (3 solos) and a pressure … Head to Head Competition -- OT Joel Foster.

Appalachian State … Credited with eight tackles (5 solos) and a 6-yard sack of QB Richie Williams … Head to Head Competition -- OT Matt Isenhour.

Alabama … Posted five tackles (3 solos) and two pressures … Head to Head Competition -- OT Kyle Tatum.

Mississippi … Limited to one solo tackle and a pass deflection … Head to Head Competition -- OT Tre' Stallings.

Arkansas … Came up with nine tackles (3 solos), four pressures and three sacks for minus 17 yards … Only Chuck Wiley (four vs. South Carolina in 1995) had more sacks in a game for the Tigers … Two of his sacks killed scoring drives … Sacked QB Casey Dick for a 7-yard loss on a third-and-3 play at the start of the second quarter … Midway through the fourth quarter, Williams sacked Dick for minus 3 yards and on the Razorbacks' next drive, he took down Dick for the third time, good for a 7-yard loss on a third-and-11 play … Head to Head Competition -- OT Robert Felton.

Georgia (SEC Championship) … Registered seven tackles (5 solos) … Head to Head Competition -- OT Dennis Roland.

Miami (Peach Bowl) … Closed out his career with five tackles (2 solos), a pair of pressures, a 9-yard sack and two stops for losses of 11 yards … At the start of the second quarter, Williams stopped QB Kyle Wright for no gain on a fourth-and-1 draw play, killing a 5-play, 51-yard drive … Later in that quarter, he forced Miami to punt when he sacked Wright for a 9-yard loss on a third-and-6 play … In the third quarter, Oliver brought down tailback Charlie Jones for a 2-yard loss on a run off right end … Head to Head Competition -- OT Rashad Baker.

2004 Season

Played in twelve games, starting nine at right defensive end and one other on the left side … Recorded 36 tackles (18 solos) with an 8-yard sack, five stops for losses of 16 yards and four pressures … Deflected two passes and intercepted another for a 27-yard return.

2004 Game Analysis

Oregon State and Troy … Posted a pair of assisted tackles in each game.

Arkansas State … Made three hits, including one that stopped fullback Sherman Bracey for a 3-yard loss.

Auburn … Followed with four solo tackles.

Georgia … Delivered five tackles (3 solos) and took down tailback Danny Ware for a 2-yard loss.

Florida … Made three stops, including one that resulted in a 2-yard loss on a bad snap in the third quarter.

Alabama … Produced five tackles (4 assists), including one on tailback Kenneth Darby behind the line of scrimmage.

Mississippi … Collected seven tackles (5 solos) and sacked QB Robert Lane for an 8-yard loss.

Arkansas … Credited with three hits (2 solos).

Iowa (Capital One Bowl) … Named LSU's Defensive MVP by the media after intercepting a pass and returning it 27 yards in the first quarter.

2003 Season

Played in every game, starting vs. Mississippi State at right defensive end … Recorded 31 tackles (17 solos) with four sacks for minus 22 yards and seven pressures … Recovered two fumbles and deflected three passes.

2003 Game Analysis

Louisiana-Monroe … Got the season off to a fine start by recovering a fumble.

Georgia … Was in on four tackles (2 solos).

Mississippi State … Recovered a fumble and had a sack.

Alabama … Made two stops, including one that resulted in a 9-yard sack QB Brodie Croyle.

Mississippi … Followed with two more tackles and a 4-yard sack of QB Eli Manning.

Arkansas … Posted a season-high six tackles (5 solos).

Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl) … Sacked QB Jason White for a 9-yard loss and collected four solo tackles with two stops for minus 13 yards.

2002 Season

Second-team Freshman All-American and first-team Freshman All-Southeastern Conference selection by The Sporting News … Played in every game, seeing action at both defensive end and tackle … Recorded 29 tackles (12 solos) with six sacks for minus 25 yards, 6.5 stops for losses of 26 yards and three pressures … Also deflected a pass … His six sacks rank second on the school's season-record list for freshman, topped only by Jarvis Green's eight in 1998.

2002 Game Analysis

Virginia Tech … Made his collegiate debut with four tackles, including one that stopped tailback Kevin Jones for a 1-yard loss.

Louisiana-Lafayette … Posted four tackles and produced his first career sacks when he got to QB Jon Van Cleave twice for losses totaling 5 yards.

Miami (Oh.), Mississippi State, Florida, Alabama and Arkansas … Made a pair of tackles in each game.

South Carolina … Registered three tackles and set a school game-record for freshmen with three sacks for minus 9 yards, taking down QB Corey Jenkins twice and Dondrail Pinkins once.

Auburn … Followed with a four-hit performance.

Texas (Cotton Bowl) … Finished the year with a pair of tackles and an 11-yard sack of QB Chris Simms.

2001 Season

Redshirted as a freshman.

Injury Report

2003: Missed a week of August camp (8/13) with a cervical (neck) strain.

Agility Tests

Campus: 5.02 seconds in the 40-yard dash … 325-pound bench press … 275-pound power clean … 31 -inch arm length … 9 3/8-inch hands.

Combine: Did not participate in individual workouts.

Off-Field Issues

2004: Was arrested and charged with simple battery after hitting his then-girlfriend on June 19, and an order of protection was placed against him.

High School

Attended Opelika (Ala.) High School, playing football for head coach Spence McCracken …

Helped the team to an 11-2 overall mark as a senior … Opelika High was the top-rated defense in Alabama and ranked first in the state in points allowed per game … Made 80 tackles, including 16 for losses, had 14 sacks and recovered one fumble … Earned first-team Class 6A All-State and All-District honors in his final season.

Personal

General Studies major … Son of Belinda Martin and Melvin Watson … Born Melvin Deontae Oliver on 7/25/83 in Opelika, Alabama.

 
 
 

CBSSports.com Shop

Fantasy Games
 
 
NFL Draft