2018 Raiders Draft Prospect Profile
Name: Isaiah Oliver
School: Colorado State
Weight: 195 pounds
Thanks to several players departing last offseason in free agency, the Oakland Raiders will have several compensatory picks in the upcoming NFL Draft. One area of immediate need is the cornerback position. Sure, Oakland drafted Buckeyes corner Gareon Conley who battled shin injuries that kept him off the field for majority of his rookie season. While Conley oozes with potential, his supporting cast is the concern.
Multiple concussions limited cornerback David Amerson to just six games in 2017, and despite a strong finish, corner Sean Smith has a very serious pending criminal case. Nickel corner T.J. Carrie is a free agent, leaving the Raiders to decide whether he is worth a big contract. Behind this group, corners Dexter McDonald and Antonio Hamilton need plenty of work. In the second installment of Day 2 Studs, here is a cornerback that can come in and contribute immediately.
Colorado cornerback Isaiah Oliver is everything the Raiders wanted in a cornerback since the departure of Nnamdi Asomugha. Oliver did not enjoy the luxury of constant national television exposure like Denzel Ward or Minkah Fitzpatrick. However, he just makes plays. Injuries slowed him down towards the end of the 2017 season, but his resume is solid against some of the PAC-12’s finest receivers.
Oliver flashes great speed, showcased by his ability to keep pace with receivers, but in special teams as well. He participated in the Pac-12 Track & Field Championships. More importantly, the Colorado standout uses a great stride and recovery speed to turn his hips and keep up with the best of them. In contrast to many track stars on the football field, Oliver uses his speed as a guide not a crutch. For instance, on running plays, he will break down carefully as to not overpursue.
Oliver excels in man-to-man coverage, using his speed, length, and instincts to give opposing receiver’s fits. He held Washington standout Dante Pettis to one catch for just 25 yards on four targets this season. Oliver held Colorado State stud Michael Gallup to just four receptions for 52 yards in their meeting this season.
Oliver uses his long arms and solid technique to make a play on the ball. He is a solid athlete with good vertical capabilities to get up and contest the 50/50 balls. He is a physical corner that has the speed and skill to make up for bad judgment. During his career in Boulder, Oliver evolves from a nickel to a starter.
In his three seasons at Colorado, Oliver has only nabbed three interceptions. Nevertheless, in that time span, he has deflected 25 passes. He has proved his hands reliable on special teams, where he returned a punt for a touchdown in 2016.
Oliver is a lot more physical of a tackler than his 190-pound frame would entail. It is especially evident in the open field, where he manages to keep shifty skill players in front of him.
He possesses all the physical tools along with the intangibles. In the secondary, it is common to see Oliver extending an extra effort to prevent a big play from becoming a touchdown. Oliver exhibits a high football IQ, and it is evident by how vocal he is on the field, making adjustments on the fly. As a matter of fact, his voices carries through the huddle and sidelines.
Oliver seized the opportunity to press up on the best receivers in the PAC-12 for three years. As a result, his playmaking earns him a definite target on the Raiders board. Oakland has attempted to go man with lackluster corners since the aforementioned Asomugha departed in free agency.