Atlanta continued their trend of picking talent over positional need in the second round with the selection of Isaiah Oliver. The Colorado product made a name for himself by showcasing his size and athleticism at the position. The former decathlete’s 6′ 2″ frame and length will pose significant problems for wide receivers at the next level. His 33 1/2 inch arms were the longest measured in this year’s cornerback class, making him of the mold of many of the cornerbacks that played under Dan Quinn when he was in Seattle.
Oliver was a First-Team All Pac-12 performer as well as a Second-Team All-American. There were many scouts who had Oliver pegged as a first-rounder and possibly the best cornerback option in the draft, which classifies him as a steal at the 58th spot in the draft. There are areas were Oliver struggles, like guarding quicker receivers in space, which means he is best served as an outside corner guarding bigger opponents like a Mike Evans or Michael Thomas, two superstars the Falcons face twice a year.
With that being said, there is a very high possibility Oliver finds himself starting at one of the outside cornerback positions by the end of the season. While both Trufant and Alford have proven they can have success on the outside, neither possess the enviable size and length that Oliver has. If Oliver can catch on quickly schematically and learn how to utilize that size early on, he will eventually slide into a starting role by season’s end. The Falcons usually have three corners on the field, meaning either Trufant or Alford would have to slide inside to the nickel. My guess would be Alford.
It is very clear Dan Quinn is aware of what you need to be successful defensively. You can never have too many pass rushers and you can never have too many cornerbacks in today’s NFL, especially in the NFC South where there are so many talented quarterbacks and receivers. Oliver was drafted to play along side Trufant and Alford, not behind them. He should have an impact year one.
2018 Predicted Statistics: 34 tackles, 11 passes defended and 2 interceptions