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Falcons player profile: CB Isaiah Oliver

Now that free agency and the draft are behind us, it’s time to take a closer look at the Falcons roster heading in to the summer. Next up in our player profile series is CB Isaiah Oliver.

Atlanta Falcons v New York Giants Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Now that free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft draft are (mostly) behind us, it’s time to take a closer look at the Atlanta Falcons’ roster heading in to the summer. Outside of a few additions and subtractions here and there in the course of training camp and the preseason, this is the roster Atlanta will be working with during the 2022 season.

We’ll kick things off with a look at the projected starters and players competing for those spots. Next up is cornerback. Perhaps the strongest overall position on the roster, the Falcons return young star A.J. Terrell, slot starter Isaiah Oliver, and 2021 fourth-rounder Darren Hall alongside a number of veteran and UDFA additions.

Next up, veteran re-signing and former second-rounder Isaiah Oliver.

CB Isaiah Oliver

Age: 25 (26 during 2022 season)

Contract: $1.04M cap hit in 2022, free agent in 2023

Career Production: 50 games played, 33 games started | 166 total tackles, 128 solo, 4.0 TFL, 3 FF, 1.0 sack | 27 PD, 1 INT

2021 Production: 4 games played, 3 games started | 11 total tackles, 7 solo, 1 FF | 3 PD, 53.3% completion rate allowed, 89.3 passer rating allowed | 72.6 overall PFF grade

Previous Teams: Drafted in the 2nd Round (58th overall) by the Atlanta Falcons (2018-present)

RAS: 8.73u

While A.J. Terrell appears to be an early success, Dimitroff’s attempts to find an impact corner in the previous two years were much shakier. 2019’s fourth-round selection, Kendall Sheffield, was a terrific athlete who couldn’t turn that into consistent play. 2018’s second-round pick, Isaiah Oliver, struggled when asked to play on the outside. But that second-rounder would have new life under Arthur Smith and Dean Pees, as the team asked Oliver to transition inside in 2021.

Despite Oliver playing almost entirely on the outside previously, he took to the slot almost immediately. Oliver was one of Atlanta’s best defensive players in the four games he played in 2021 before an ACL injury sidelined him for the remainder of the season. It was a brutal development for a still-young player looking to prove himself in a contract year. This offseason, Oliver agreed to return to the Falcons on a one-year “prove-it” deal.

That could wind up being good for both sides, as Oliver looked like an impact starter in the slot in Pees’ scheme. He brought physicality in run support, played tight coverage, and looked dangerous as a blitzer—registering a hurry and a QB hit in just 10 rushes. The big question is obviously Oliver’s health—he was still restricted to individual drills and rehab during OTAs and minicamp. It doesn’t sound like there’s any concern for Oliver’s availability for training camp, but it’s something to watch as we get closer to the preseason.

Projection: Isaiah Oliver turned heads in limited action during the 2021 season, looking like a quality starter in the slot before suffering a season-ending ACL injury. He’s the clear favorite to win the starting slot corner job this season, and will hopefully get a chance to reprise his strong start in 2022.