49ers freshman Oliver hopes his versatility will help him win games originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
Newly signed defenseman Isaiah Oliver is poised to show his versatility with the 49ers in 2023.
The former Atlanta Falcon spoke to local Bay Area media Thursday after officially signing a two-year deal, and shared that while his role hasn’t yet been defined by the 49ers’ coaching staff, he’s found success while mostly on the place played.
“As I understand it, I’m here to be versatile and to help in any way I can,” Oliver said Thursday at OTAs and training camps. But my goal is to come in and help the team in some way.”
Oliver returned to the mix towards the end of the 2022 NFL season after suffering an ACL injury in Week 4 of 2021. The Colorado product shared that he physically didn’t feel like himself on the field until nearly December.
In five seasons, Oliver has 203 tackles — 153 solo, seven for losses — and two interceptions in 62 games. The defender believes his nose for contact with taller players on the pitch comes not only from his physical stature, but also from his ‘want’.
The 6-foot-tall, 210-pound defenseman doesn’t shy away from contact, comparing himself to ex-49ers slot corner K’Waun Williams, who signed with the Denver Broncos last March after four seasons with the 49ers.
“I definitely felt more comfortable there,” said Oliver. “I had the feeling that I could play to my strengths a little more. Just being on the ball, being fit on the run, I felt very comfortable and I really enjoy doing it.
“K’Waun Williams was here a long time and he was one of the most confident tacklers in the league and was never afraid to go in there and hit something.”
Oliver will join Charvarius “Mooney” Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and Sam Womack on the field. With Jimmie Ward’s departure to the Houston Texans, the 49ers have a 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 last few years and I’m still getting better at.”
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Oliver is looking forward to finding his role while working with new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who has risen as defensive backs coach. Oliver sees this as an opportunity that he must seize.
Source : sports.yahoo.com