The NFL draft took some surprising turns, and it led with the Atlanta Falcons coming away with wide receiver Calvin Ridley instead of the widely expected defensive tackle position. They finally addressed the defense, but not the tackle spot. They just drafted Colorado corner Isaiah Oliver.
Dan Quinn and Co. were sniffing around Oliver way back in mid-March. Rapsheet additionally linked the Falcons to Oliver.
That’s why it’s interesting, as a source recently told The Falcoholic, that the Falcons worked out two Colorado defensive backs on Tuesday who have the length and athleticism they prize. That would be cornerback Isaiah Oliver, an expected first or second round pick, and safety Afolabi Laguda, an expected late round selection.
Thomas Dimitroff said the Falcons were not locked in on one position, and well, he definitely proved that with the Ridley and Oliver selections. Here is what Dave Choate had to say about Oliver last month.
He has size, speed, and coverage instincts that should make him one of the first corners off the board in April, and it’s easy to understand why the Falcons would be interested in him. That said, his footwork and coverage are said to need some work, and the Falcons are probably not going to invest a first or second-round pick at cornerback when the defensive line needs their urgent attention.
The Falcons clearly love sticking in nickel, which does indeed make the nickel a starting job. The Falcons are able to do two things: improve the pass defense by bumping down occasional liability (and occasional play maker) Brian Poole down to dime, and start with Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and new rookie Oliver. The team will need to consider getting younger in the next few years, and Oliver may push out either veteran by year three or four.
Scouts love Oliver’s size, speed, and freaky long arms. Seriously, he’s 6-foot, 201-pounds, with crazy long 33.5-inch arms and a 4.5 40 time. His measurables look like he was hand-built by Dan Quinn. A true fast and physical player. If Quinn decided he likes Oliver better than any remaining defensive tackle, it is tough to not give him the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, the team finally has a replacement for former second-round corner Jalen Collins.