The Pac-12 might not have produced a threat to the national title picture in 2017, but it sure did send some talent to the next level.
Count Colorado defensive back Isaiah Oliver among those who will make the leap from the Pac-12 to the first round or two of the 2018 NFL Draft. Oliver, a 6-foot-1, 190-pound defender from Goodyear, Ariz., is projected to be selected by an NFL team near the back half of the first round (which takes place on Thursday night) or early portion of the second (on Friday).
Here are five things you should know about Oliver.
1. He earned an assortment of honors in his third season at Colorado
Oliver was named First Team All-Pac-12 by both the Associated Press and the conference’s coaches, and second-team All-American by SB Nation and collegesportsmadness.com, per the university’s official athletics website. 2017 was his first full season as a starter, making the achievements all the more impressive.
2. He measured as the longest defensive back at the NFL Scouting Combine
Plenty is made about hand size and 40 time and bench press reps, but one of the most important details is height/length. Oliver reigns supreme in that category among this class of prospects, tying with Penn State DB Christian Campbell in arm length (33 1/2″). His hand size and height didn’t top the group, but the arm length, at 6 feet, 3/4 inches tall, is enticing. It’s especially important for defensive backs, as an extra inch could be the difference between a long touchdown pass and a pass break-up.
3. He’ll soon become the fifth Colorado defensive back of the last three years to make an NFL roster
Oliver will join former teammates Chidobe Awuzie (Dallas Cowboys), Ken Crawley (New Orleans Saints), Tedric Thompson (Seattle Seahawks) and Ahkello Witherspoon (San Francisco 49ers) as Buffaloes who have made a 53-man roster in the NFL. Including all of the aforementioned but Crawley, Oliver was part of a defense in 2016 that recorded 15 interceptions. That defense, coached by current Oregon defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt, was part of a team that also made it to the Pac-12 Championship Game, where it fell to the Washington Huskies.
4. His dad was an NFL corner
Oliver’s father, Muhammad, was an NCAA finalist in the decathlon in 1992 and also played football at Oregon, riding that combination to the NFL and a five-year professional stint. Muhammad Oliver appeared in 21 games with five teams from 1992-1995 (Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins), recording one interception in that span. He eventually had a son, named his Isaiah and determined he’d play cornerback in his football life.
5. He was a two-time All-Pac-12 performer in the decathlon
Oliver followed in his father’s footsteps, competing as part of Colorado’s track and field team during his first two years in Boulder. He twice earned all-conference honors before shifting his focus strictly to football this year.