One of the biggest challenges rookies face is acclimating to their team’s culture, especially when that rookie was picked No. 9 overall. Ed Oliver came to Buffalo with walls up but with the help of his teammates, they are coming down.
“He’s becoming more open to talking with his teammates and integrating with his teammates,” said Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. “Your teammates can really help you if you allow them to, especially the veteran guys.”
The age gap was the largest disconnect according to Oliver, who was drafted as a 21-year-old college junior.
“You come in and you’re the rookie and these guys are in their thirties with kids,” said Oliver.
Once those walls began to come down, Oliver’s play began to improve.
“I think he’s found out that these guys really want to see him succeed,” said Frazier. “Nobody is worried about if he’s going to take my position or take all the headlines. “
Oliver is taking Jordan Phillips’ starting spot but the two have become fast friends. Phillips’ house was the first teammate’s house Oliver visited. The two bonded over their shared loves of dogs and cars.
“It’s like a family,” said Phillips. “You really care about the people and want to do right for the people here, coaches and players.”