The Chicago Bears are expected to return the same starting secondary that anchored a defense which ranked in the top-10 in scoring and yardage allowed last season, but could still use the upcoming NFL Draft to add to the group.
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller tweets that the Bears are one of a handful of teams who’ve worked out Colorado cornerback Isaiah Oliver. We can now add Oliver to the list of top-tier defensive backs who have visited Chicago before the draft, which includes Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, UCF’s Mike Hughes, Iowa’s Josh Jackson, and Ohio State’s Denzel Ward. This could suggest the team is still looking to upgrade the position group. Or it could be a smoke screen. After all, the season of misinformation is upon us.
But let’s take an extended look at Oliver, who is one of the draft’s more interesting cornerback prospects.
Oliver comes from an athletic background. His father, Muhammad, was an NCAA All-American track-and-field athlete who also played cornerback at Oregon before embarking on a five-year NFL career. Oliver’s uncle, Damon Mays, was a receiver at Missouri and played in the NFL with the Houston Oilers.
In addition to good genes, Oliver has been blessed with an ideal combination of size, speed, athleticism, and length. Oliver checks in at 6-1, 190 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds. He excels in bump-and-run man coverage, but could use some work in refining his technique. Perhaps the Bears could unearth some additional value from Oliver, by using him as a punt returner, something he did for Colorado over the last two seasons. Taking all of these things into consideration and you’ll find yourself noting that Oliver seems to have the kind of attributes the Bears seem to covet in cornerbacks.
Oliver could be just starting to scratch the surface of his potential, which is probably why he is projected as highly as a player like Ward, Jackson, or Hughes. Still, he could be a second-round steal should he drop that far.