(Editor's Note: While the start of the 2018 NFL Draft isn't until April 26, it's never too early to profile some of the key participants. The staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of the draft's top prospect, with an emphasis on possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Colorado's Isaiah Oliver.)
- Name: Isaiah Oliver
- Position: Cornerback
- Height/Weight:6-0 / 190
- Honors:Oliver made Associated Press first-team All-Pac-12 as a junior in 2017.
- Key Stat: Oliver had a team-best 13 pass breakups in 2017, and his 32 over three seasons is the 10th-highest career total in school history.
Where He's Projected:
Most draft observers believe Oliver is a starting-caliber cornerback prospect who could go off the board in the late first or early second round. Oliver comes from a football family (his father Muhammad played four seasons in the NFL) and he was highly productive at Colorado alongside several future pro defensive backs, including the Cowboys' 2017 second-round pick Chidobe Awuzie. Oliver's outstanding speed (he was a two-time all-conference decathlete in college) and long arms (reportedly close to a seven-foot wingspan) make him an ideal press corner prospect.
How He Helps The Cowboys:
Never enough guys who can cover. That's the general philosophy in today's pass-first league. The Cowboys have already invested considerable resources in reshaping their secondary, however. Awuzie and fellow 2016 draft picks Jourdan Lewis and Xavier Woods became the top three corners by the end of last season. And with safety Byron Jones likely getting a look at corner once again, perhaps this is a position the Cowboys address later in the draft. Time will tell.
- Smooth pedal. Patient in the way he plays with his feet.
- Impressive how he can deny the slant. Hands and length helps him here.
- Does a good job of playing those inside routes.
- Doesn't have great deep speed when guys get behind him. Will struggle to catch up. When he does maintain his position, can play the high ball.
- Physical at the line. Some start-stop quickness.
- Not a great tackler but doesn't shy away from it.
- Best when he can play as a press man corner. The closer that he can get up on a receiver, the better chance he has making a play. Don't want him playing much off coverage.