With starting cornerback Robert Alford out with an ankle injury this week, the Isaiah Oliver experience is about to begin for the Atlanta Falcons
Oliver, the team’s second-round and rumored potential first-round pick out of Colorado, has played sparingly through the season, which isn’t all that uncommon for young cornerbacks.
The team has plenty talent at the position on the roster, though they clearly have an eye out for Oliver down the road with what he can do. Sunday at Washington, he’s going to get his best chance yet to show his growth and take on a relatively manageable assignment.
Washington will be without WR Jamison Crowder Sunday, which means their top WR Josh Doctson will likely draw heavy attention from CB Desmond Trufant. Look for Oliver to get a bulk of his snaps against Paul Richardson, who has dangerous speed.
Oliver struggled against Cincinnati against A.J. Green, though most do. He also let up a big touchdown to Tyreek Hill in the preseason, though again, most do.
Richardson is a decent hypothetical challenge for Oliver and should give him a good full game’s challenge of learning on the job. He will make mistakes; he might even let up a big play or two. That’s what happens when you try to acclimate a rookie to the game, particularly one where he hit the ground running.
If he impresses, the Falcons can feel confident they’ve got the guy they need to withstand however long Alford is out. Oliver has a heck of an opportunity ahead of him to really prove his mettle against an ideal opponent. Let’s see how early he can seize the moment and begin his time in Atlanta in a major role.