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Colorado Buffaloes’ Isaiah Oliver NFL Draft Profile

What to know about the Buffs’ former lockdown cornerback.

NCAA Football: Colorado at Oregon State Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Isaiah Oliver | Defensive Back | Colorado

Class: Junior

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 205 pounds | Arms: 33 12 | Hands: 9 34

NFL Combine Stats:

40-yard Dash: 4.5 seconds

Bio:

The Goodyear, Arizona native is set to become the fourth member of the Buffaloes’ vaunted “Money Gang” secondary selected over the past two years. Last year, Chidobe Awuzie (Dallas Cowboys, No. 60 overall), Ahkello Witherspoon (San Francisco 49ers, No. 66 overall) and Tedric Thompson (Seattle Seahawks, No. 111 overall) all made their mark in the top-half of the draft. Oliver excelled as a two-sport athlete in football along with Track and Field, just like his father, Muhammad, who finished fourth as a decathlete at the NCAA Championship for Oregon in 1992. Isaiah stuck to playing cornerback after developing two-way talents, (12 touchdowns as a receiver, seven interceptions and nine blocked punts) at Brophy Prep HS. He also graduated as a three-time state champion in track (110, 300-meter hurdles and 4x400 relay). Oliver missed just two games due to injury during his career at Colorado (37 games, 16 starts), recording a total of 71 tackles, 29 pass deflections and three interceptions. Many believe Oliver will be the first CU player to be a first-round selection since offensive lineman Nate Solder and cornerback Jimmy Smith in 2011.

Overall Analysis:

Absurd athlete, terrific competitor. Oliver’s ability to use his athleticism gives him an advantage with elite world-class speed along with size to press receivers. A lengthy defender with a wingspan over seven feet long, Oliver is known for easily disrupting route runners. Oliver has proven himself as a shutdown corner with great timing techniques, which combined with his athleticism makes him a dangerous playmaker in pursuit of the ball. Some will call Oliver a raw prospect, but he was plenty productive in his single season starting at CU, as he was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection who allowed opposing quarterbacks 26-of-63 (41.3 %) completions that resulted in 402 yards, five touchdowns, five interceptions (two for Oliver, three by teammates), and 13 pass deflections last season. If Oliver can shore up his weaknesses with NFL coaching and more game-time experience, he has all the potential to emerge as one of the league’s premier cornerbacks.

Weaknesses:

Oliver’s weaknesses mostly come from his lack of experience. First off, footwork can be problematic for Oliver as he can struggle to stay with quicker receivers on the break of their route. He often uses his speed to stay step-for-step in coverage, but lacks a physical edge when changing directions. Oliver needs to work on his aggression at the next level, as he tends to play with technique over physicality in many facets of the game, including in the run game. Oliver is a calculated, forward-thinking, team-oriented player suited for any environment, but he would stand to benefit from playing behind more experienced corners to develop a rhythm in the secondary. He’s an instinctive defender with a deep football IQ and the determination and athleticism to become an All-Pro cornerback under the right system.

Draft Projection: Late 1st or early 2nd

NFL Comparisons: Jimmy Smith (actually), Patrick Peterson (but worse), Trevor Williams