What evidently has come out of nowhere, the Atlanta Falcons have moved cornerback Isaiah Oliver to the free safety position, at least for now.
On the Atlanta Falcons website, they posted a series of photos from minicamp of the players. If you look at pictures 66 and 67 it says “Atlanta Falcons free safety Isaiah Oliver #26.”
It remains to be seen if this is a permanent transition or if the Falcons are just trying to test him up top to make him more versatile. It is no secret that Dan Quinn was the driving force for drafting Isaiah Oliver in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He loved corners that are tall and long, which is exactly what Isaiah Oliver is.
He has been repeatedly burned by the opposition when playing the position he was drafted to play, outside cornerback.
Two plays that stick out from the 2020 season were during the first few weeks. Seahawks receiver D.K. Metcalf was able to run right past him on a fourth down and caught it for a long touchdown.
The second was against the Bears when Allen Robinson caught a comeback route, and Isaiah Oliver totally whiffed on the tackled, resulting in a long touchdown.
News of the Atlanta Falcons moving Isaiah Oliver to safety comes after coaches praised Oliver for his work as a slot corner last season.
Later in the season, the Atlanta Falcons decided to play Isaiah Oliver almost exclusively at slot corner. This seemingly a result of Raheem Morris taking over as the head coach of the team.
This ended up improving the play Oliver a lot.
During the whole 2020 season, Oliver played 110 more snaps at slot than the outside. About 200 of his 300 snaps on the outside came within the first four weeks of the season. It is apparent just from those stats as to how disappointing he really was.
Atlanta Falcons have coaches praised him during this offseason for what they saw on film of Oliver on the inside.
If the Falcons did in fact move Oliver to free safety, this makes it even weirder.
Why would they praise his play at one position, just to move him to another?
The answer to this is probably more complicated than that. He will most likely be used all over the defense. The Falcons coaches want to get him ready to play where ever they need him. Perhaps they will play him over top in base packages, and then he will come down as the nickel corner when need be.
Watch out for him to play like Kenny Vaccaro did for the Tennessee Titans and Dean Pees a couple years back.
The Atlanta Falcons certainly have talent amongst the defense. Perhaps this will change the trajectory of Oliver’s career. It will certainly be an interesting subject to keep an eye out for as the offseason activities continue.