Newly recruited defenseman Isaiah Oliver is ready to put his versatility to the test with the 49ers in 2023.
The former Atlanta Falcon spoke to local Bay Area media on Thursday after officially signing a two-year contract. He shared that while his role has not yet been determined by the 49ers coaching staff, he has been successful while primarily playing in slots.
“As I understand it, I’m here to be versatile and help in any way I can,” Oliver said on Thursday. to OTAs and training camps. But my goal is to come in and help the team in any way I can.
Oliver came back into the mix late in the 2022 NFL season after suffering an ACL injury in Week 4 of 2021. The Colorado product shared that physically, he didn’t feel on the field until almost December.
In five seasons, Oliver has made 203 tackles – 153 solo, seven for a loss – and two interceptions in 62 games. The defensive defender believes that his nose for contact with bigger players on the field is not only because of his physical stature, but also because of his ‘will’.
The 6-foot, 210-pound defenseman doesn’t shy away from contact and compares himself to ex-49ers closing corner K’Waun Williams who, after four seasons with the 49ers, signed with the Denver Broncos last March.
“I definitely felt more comfortable there,” said Oliver. “I felt like I could play to my strengths a bit more. Just being around the ball, being fit on the run, I felt really comfortable and I really enjoy doing it.
“K’Waun Williams was here for a long time and he was one of the most confident tacklers in the league and was never afraid to get in there and hit something.”
Oliver will join Charvarius “Mooney” Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and Sam Womack on the field. With the departure of Jimmie Ward to the Houston Texans, the 49ers have a nickel void to fill and Oliver is a perfect candidate.
“I feel like my strengths are really just getting around the ball, being a strong tackler and being able to play with the ball that way,” said Oliver. “It’s something I’ve excelled at over the years and am still getting better at.”
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Oliver looks forward to finding his role as he works with new defensive back coordinator Steve Wilks, who has risen through the ranks as defensive backs coach. Oliver sees that as an opportunity to seize.
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