With the departure of Desmond Trufant this offseason, the Atlanta Falcons will be relying upon a relatively inexperienced group of cornerbacks this upcoming season.
Isaiah Oliver, a second-round pick of the Falcons in 2018, is only entering his third season in the NFL. And yet, Oliver finds himself as one of the most experienced cornerbacks on Atlanta’s roster. Oliver is looking to take over the leadership role the team lost with Trufant’s release back in March
“With Tru leaving, I definitely have to step into more of a leadership role,” Oliver said, via Paul Newberry of the Associated Press. “There’s a lot of young guys in the room, but I’m capable and ready to do that. I understand the defense really well. I understand what the coaches want. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it every week.”
It’s difficult to be a leader if you’re not able to produce on the field at the same time. The good news for Oliver is that he was able to start finding his footing the second half of last season when Dan Quinn passed off defensive coordinator duties to Raheem Morris.
Even with veterans Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen at safety, the capabilities of the Falcons’ secondary are in question. Oliver and the rest of Atlanta’s young secondary making further strides forward will be critical to the team’s outlook for the 2020 season.
Oliver is confident they’ll be able to rise to the challenge.
“It is a young group, but a really smart group,” he said. “The guys are already at a level of understanding the defense really well even if they’ve only been in the system for one year. Obviously, losing a guy like Tru … changes some things. But I definitely like the group we have.”