Chicago Bears Draft Scout: Isaiah Oliver

BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 19: Defensive back Isaiah Oliver
BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 19: Defensive back Isaiah Oliver /
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Could the Chicago Bears find cornerback help with the drafting of Isaiah Oliver?

Isaiah Oliver has football and athleticism in his blood. His father, Mohammad spent five seasons in the NFL and was a world class decathlete. His uncle Damon Mays also spent time in the NFL. Oliver spent most of his career in a reserve role behind Chidobe Awuzie, Ahkello Witherspoon and Ken Crawley, all NFL talents. However, in 2017 he proved that he is a name amongst those players and shot himself high into the draft conversation with All-Pac 12 honors. How does he compare to his former teammates as NFL prospects, and does Isaiah Oliver fit into the Chicago Bears?


Height: 6’1″

Weight: 192

Age: 21

School: Colorado


While maybe a touch thin, Isaiah Oliver has the desired height and length to project into the NFL. He should be able to handle the biggest of wide receivers in the NFL and has the frame to put on more pounds.

For how big he is, and how he can be imposing at the line of scrimmage and in the air, his best attribute may still be his recovery speed. Oliver can fly and has the length, speed and athleticism to catch up to almost any wide receiver. Watch in the play below as he erases any sort of separation and winds up over bearing his wide receiver as he tracks down the football.

Oliver only had two interceptions in his junior season, and had three total through his career. However, he still brings a good presence of ball skills. While it was against Texas State, you can see just how much better he is than his competition as he completely dominates the wide receiver while hauling in a Willie Mays style interception. Oliver is also fluid in his ability to turn around and run upfield for big yards after the catch. Isaiah Oliver was clearly in a different league than his competition in this game.

Still, even with tougher competition, he showed his ability to maintain down the field and get his hands on the ball, even if he was not lighting it up with interceptions.

In the play below, he is able to stick stride for stride with his man. He was able to get his head back at the last second, find the ball and knock it away.

Again, Oliver is able to get his head around, find the ball and knock it away. Look at the athleticism as he is able to run with his man before boxing him out and out jumping him for the ball. He dominated this matchup.

Oliver also has the athletic explosion to crash in and make plays on the football in the short passing game. His quick break on the pass below forced an incompletion. In terms of size, deep speed, and overall athleticism, Isaiah Oliver brings it.


With his limited playing time there are definitely still some kinks that need to be worked out from his game. His biggest issue is changing speed. He does a great job of going from 0 to 60 and making up ground. However, there will be times where he can have that back fire against. Slowing down and changes his direction can get to him with curls, outs and come backs.

This is the easiest way to create separation from Oliver. He is a bit slow to react to the quick breaks and timing routes.

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Oliver is also slow in getting his hips turned, and this creates situations where he is needed to make up ground, rather than maintain stride for stride with his opponent. In the play below, Michael Gallup was able to throw him off with the quick move at the line of scrimmage. From there, Oliver was slow to recover and flip his hips, resulting in Gallup gaining a step deep.

Gallup got him again below with the quick move right off of the line of scrimmage. Oliver is shifting his body weight right when Gallup breaks left to the outside and Oliver is slow to turn and recover. Oliver was able to catch up, but did not have the strength from his recovery position to jockey with Gallup for the ball down the field.

There are definitely times in which thinking too much can be shown in the game of Isaiah Oliver. Oliver is much more comfortable following his receiver around in man, and has had mental lapses in zone. In the play below, he is caught off by the play action and Sam Darnold looking left off of it. He is staring at the left flats and not watching his responsibility. That is when a crossing route takes off over the top of him as he fails to notice until the quarterback does first.

There are also questions concerning his tackling and run stuffing. He is not great in terms of technique nor angles and both tend to get him caught giving up extra yards. While he is willing, and most of issues come down to experience rather than effort, there is ironing out to do when it comes to the finer points of his game.