Isaiah Oliver expects to be a ‘versatile’ member of the 49ers secondary in 2023

Mar 17, 2023, 11:27 AM | Updated: 12:37 pm

Isaiah Oliver #26 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up on the field before the game against the New York...

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - SEPTEMBER 26: Isaiah Oliver #26 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up on the field before the game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 26, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers were incredibly thin in the secondary at the start of free agency. Losing starters Emmanuel Moseley and Jimmie Ward to other teams, San Francisco needed to find another defensive back that could slot into a variety of roles. They may have done that with the signing of cornerback Isaiah Oliver.

Inking a two-year deal with the Red & Gold, Oliver comes to the 49ers after five seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. A former second-round draft pick, the Colorado alum has played across the board, starting on the outside before being pushed to the slot in previous seasons. Regardless of his designated role, Oliver just hopes to help the 49ers in any way he can.

“I’m here just to be versatile and help in any way I can,” Oliver said during his introductory press conference Thursday. “I think we’ve got to take the time to see where I fit in and what that looks like going forward through OTAs, training camp and stuff like that. But, my goal is really just coming in to help the team in any way.”

Hitting free agency for there the first time, the cover-man had a few teams show interest this week. What made San Francisco stand out from the rest is the defensive pedigree, which ranked at the top of most defensive metrics last season. Oliver knows he’s joining an elite organization, hoping to improve his game with every single rep in red & Gold.

“The 49ers have been one of the best defenses in the NFL for quite some time now. Being able to watch that and study from afar, I understand the scheme in that way. I feel like my strengths are really being able to get around the ball, be a strong tackler and be able to make plays on the ball. That’s something that I’ve excelled at over the past couple years and I’m still getting better in that way. So, that’s what I’m looking forward to help bring to the team,” he stated.

The 26-year-old is being modest on his tackling prowess, ranked No. 6 in run defense for CBs in 2022 by Pro Football Focus (81.5). He also carries an overall 77.9 PFF grade for his play in 2022. Fitting into the 49ers’ scheme perfectly, Oliver’s ability will be relied upon by new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, hoping to keep the slot on lockdown for the foreseeable future.

“I definitely felt much more comfortable in there. I felt like I was able to play to my strengths a little more, just being around the ball, being in the run fit and things like that. I felt real comfortable doing it and I liked doing it a lot. I felt like it was a lot more fun, so that’s something that I’ve definitely grown towards,” Isaiah Oliver explained.

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