The Falcons selected cornerback Isaiah Oliver in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft on Friday.
He was the 58th pick overall.
The Raiders selected Sam Houston State defensive tackle P.J. Hall with the 57 pick, an area of need for the Falcons. The Falcons selected defensive tackle Deadrin Senat from South Florida in the third round with the 90th overall pick.
Oliver, 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, is essentially a big replacement for Jalen Collins, who was released last season.
Oliver doesn’t have a preference between left (right-handed quarterback’s throwing side) or right cornerback.
“It was a little bit of both,” Oliver said. “Some games, if they had a top receiver, I would just follow him. In other games, I would be in the boundary or on the left side. I did pretty much every thing.”
Oliver will help the Falcons match up better with the big receivers in the NFC South like Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans (6-5), New Orleans’ Mike Thomas (6-3) and Carolina’s Devin Funchess (6-4).
“To be honest, I’m ready to play anywhere,” Oliver said. “Ideally, I’ve played more outside than I have inside just in my career. I’m a press-man guy. I like to get up on the line of scrimmage.”
Oliver believes he matches up well against bigger receivers.
“The NFL is kind of just getting more and more big receivers,” Oliver said. “Being a bigger corner that is what I pride myself on, going into those games and being able to stop them. So, I look forward to it.”
Oliver had 32 pass breakups over his career and three interceptions.
“It’s just my athleticism along with my refined technique,” Oliver said. “That’s something that I’ve work on, especially over these last three years. Just the little things.”
The Falcons’ personnel braintrust, including defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel, flew to Boulder, Colorado on owner Arthur Blank’s private plane to hold a private workout for Oliver and safely Afolabi Laguda on March 14.
“They all came out,” Oliver said. “We just did a little bit of a workout, me and some of my teammates as well. I felt like the workout went really well.
“It was pretty soon after my Pro Day, if I remember correctly. So, it was my first workout. We got some good work in. I really like them and meeting all of them there.”
His father, Muhammad, played cornerback at Oregon and was a world-class decathlete. He was selected in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL draft by Denver and played five seasons in the NFL.
“He taught me a lot,” Oliver said. “He was my coach growing up in all of the sports that I (played). He just really taught me everything that I first learned about football.”
He competed two seasons in the decathlon on Colorado’s track team.
“That was something that I feel in love with, track and field, but football has always been my love,” Oliver said. “I will always do football before anything else.”
The last player to be selected from University of Colorado by the Falcons was Don Holmes in the 12th round of the 1984 Draft.
About the Author