Isaiah Oliver, CB
School: Colorado | Conference: PAC 12
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 201 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Brendan Langley
Isaiah Oliver was originally recruited as a 2-star prospect who also played wide receiver in high school. He only got two offers to play college football one from Colorado and New Mexico. Oliver played behind two talented cornerbacks in Chidobe Awuzie and Ahkello Witherspoon early in his career but stood out this past season when he finally got starting duties. Oliver is a smooth cornerback and a good athlete who plays with great fluidity and can stick with his opponent stride for stride. He has some of the longest arms ever recorded for a cornerback at the combine and he uses his length and wingspan to break up passes. His hands are decent from his days as a wide receiver as well. He will need to improve his tackling as he misses too many by getting himself out of position and diving at the ankles. He also needs to consistently turn his head when defending passes so he can better time his breakups and jumps as well as avoid penalties. Overall Oliver has the key skills that can take him pretty far in the league and should be a starter early on in his career.
- Excellent size, length, speed and athleticism for the position.
- Length is really his calling card. With an exceptional defensive radius, he can get his hands on passes other CBs simply can't reach. He has good acceleration and is a long strider who can recover and make up ground when the ball is in the air.
- Fluid athlete who can backpedal turn and bail seamlessly. Usually always there to check opponents hip. He has the ability to stick with most of the opponents he’ll face in the NFL from an athletic standpoint.
- Has sort of a stalker style in coverage especially on deep balls will play with a bit of finesse then get in position to finish. QBs will really have to be accurate and drop the ball into their receivers hands to avoid him.
- Shows flashes of being an effective press corner and has the physical skill set to bump receivers off their routes.
- Tackling needs to improve. He is willing but he can take false steps and move himself out of position. His target area can be too high or too low and he needs to find center mass.
- Gives too much cushion and cedes too much territory on hitch and comeback routes. Generally, he can improve his closing and pursuit angles and keep things tighter to prevent YAC.
- Panics, when he can’t see or loses sight of the ball, will close on the receiver without turning and impede their progress causing PI.
Let's see his work:
Isaiah Oliver uses his elite length (98th percentile wingspan) to slow WR’s stem. Remains in phase on WR’s hip allows him to make this ridiculous INT pic.twitter.com/8exsF9APbg— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) March 14, 2018
Isaiah Oliver has some ridiculous length to go up and contest the ball even when trailing. Insane pic.twitter.com/RMbVKHG91R— Travis Steffen (@SteffenNFL) April 3, 2018
Alright, I've seen enough. Isaiah Oliver is now my CB1 in this draft class, even over Denzel Ward. I hadn't studied him more than a game and a half before this week, but after getting through five games he's my top graded CB. Top 15 talent that might slip because of QB priority.— Brett Kollmann (@BrettKollmann) March 27, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
If the Redskins are thinking about replacing Josh Norman for whatever reason after this season then they may be interested in Oliver. I love corners and I don't think a team can have ‘too many’ as the saying usually goes with pass rushers. Oliver, for the most part, is technically sound and if a team needed him right away he should be able to contribute with only a few growing pains. Oliver has an interesting blend of finesse and physicality and if he can play more disciplined he should develop into a starter who should be able to stick with most receivers in the league. The Redskins could take a chance and draft Oliver and have him start opposite Josh Norman and kick Fabian Moreau inside where Moreau could use his athleticism and skills to cover the slot. He (Oliver) has potential playing off-man coverage as well as press. That would make for one heck of a young corner group and could make the move away from an expensive veteran an easy one. On the other hand, this draft is so stacked at corner that using a second rounder on one could be more than the Redskins are willing to spend. They seem to have a lot of faith in Moreau and Dunbar (as they should) and may elect to use a later round pick for depth or competition at the slot position specifically. With few weaknesses in his game, it may be a moot point as Oliver could easily go in the back of the first round as well.