Isaiah Oliver might be too good to stay in Boulder.
The Colorado Buffaloes junior cornerback has been rising up draft boards and he’s now projected as a first round pick by Pro Football Focus. PFF, which uses a blend of advanced stats and experience scouting to measure draft prospects, has Oliver going 22nd overall to the Cleveland Browns in their 2018 mock draft.
On Oliver, PFF writes:
There is still work to be done on the defensive side of the ball in Cleveland and Oliver’s size and athleticism will be coveted at draft time. He has excellent balls skills, leading to 21 pass breakups on only 134 career targets and he’s only allowed 44.8 percent of his targets to be completed in his two-plus years of action.
In this mock draft, Oliver is the 3rd highest defensive back. He’s behind only Florida State safety Derwin James (2nd) and Alabama cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick (17th). Cornerbacks Joshua Jackson of Iowa (24th) and Denzel Ward of Ohio State (32nd) both show up at the end of the mock.
Rumor has it that Oliver is ranked 21st on Mel Kiper’s Big Board, but I’m not boujee enough to verify.
As you may recall from a Ralphie Report preseason article titled “Isaiah Oliver will be a star in 2017,” Oliver is an athletic freak with great size at the position, and he’s able to leverage his physical traits with polished skill and a high football IQ. Thanks to his elite coverage ability and his ball skills, opposing quarterbacks have practically avoided throwing to Oliver’s half of the field.
You can see why NFL teams are paying attention to him in this video, where he shuts down Colorado State receiver Michael Gallup, who’s projected to be drafted 21st overall in the NFL Draft:
Let’s not forget to include what could be Oliver’s signature play:
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 9, 2017
INTERCEPTION! @_isaiah_oliver_ is having himself a great game!
Watch #TXSTvsCU: https://t.co/YfMNDWtSGW pic.twitter.com/DgijB8jhRt
As incredible as Oliver is, the Buffs just need him to get healthy from an injury he suffered against Washington State. He’s expected to be 100% against Arizona State and Colorado needs him to play like a first round prospect if they’re going to clinch bowl eligibility in a tough environment on Saturday night.