Isaiah Oliver

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/15/22

Today’s minor moves around the league:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/5/22

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

A number of players who were placed on IR after the preseason and prior to the regular season returned to practice today. These players will have a three-week practice window until they have to be activated to the active roster. Otherwise, they’ll be ineligible to return this season.

One of the most surprising returns is Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton. The former undrafted free agent rode a strong preseason to a potential starting gig, but he was sidelined with second-degree burns after spilling hot oil on his legs and feet. Kliff Kingsbury previously said an early-October return may be a “little aggressive” (per ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss on Twitter), but the cornerback ended up working his way back to practice.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/1/22

Teams continue to tinker with their rosters after hundreds of players were cut earlier this week. We’ve tracked all of today’s minor moves below:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Falcons Place LB Deion Jones, CB Isaiah Oliver On IR

The Falcons removed Deion Jones from their active/PUP list last week, but the veteran linebacker will still miss the season’s first four games. Atlanta placed Jones on IR Thursday.

This turned out to be part of a bigger Atlanta IR shift. In addition to the Jones placement, the Falcons moved cornerback Isaiah Oliver, defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield and tight end John FitzPatrick to IR. All are now ineligible through Week 4.

[RELATED: Falcons Claim T Chuma Edoga]

With one of the free roster spots, the Falcons brought back linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. The team had included the former Bears and Raiders defender among its Tuesday cuts. Atlanta also re-signed defensive lineman Abdullah Anderson and offensive lineman Colby Gossett.

Linked in trade rumors for months, Jones underwent shoulder surgery in May to quiet those. He did not return to practice until late August. The seventh-year defender is set to count for a Falcons-most $20MM against the 2022 cap. The team added Kwiatkoski, former Dean Pees Titans charge Rashaan Evans and second-rounder Troy Andersen at the position — one also housing third-year cog Mykal Walker — this offseason. That and the Falcons having moved on from most of their Super Bowl LI nucleus, as they attempt to rebuild, has naturally inserted Jones’ name into departure rumors.

It should not be completely ruled out Jones could be dealt by the Nov. 1 deadline, but Thursday’s transaction — continuing an injury hiatus into the season — further complicates that status.

Oliver went down with a season-ending knee injury in October of last year. Despite that, the former second-round pick re-signed with the Falcons on a one-year, $2.39MM deal. A 33-game Falcons starter, Oliver will have missed at least a year of football by the time he is able to return. Davidson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery last month. Mayfield lost his right guard job to journeyman Elijah Wilkinson during camp.

Latest On Falcons’ CB Competition

The Falcons are eyeing a defensive turnaround in 2022, after the unit ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every major category last season. To achieve that, the team will lean heavily on its secondary. 

The CB room will once again be led by A.J. Terrell. The former first-rounder earned Second-Team All-Pro honors last season, after posting three interceptions and 16 pass deflections. He is set to anchor the Falcons’ backend on the perimeter, where he will likely be joined by Casey Heyward. The veteran signed a two-year deal in free agency to provide Atlanta with a veteran presence in the secondary.

In the slot, however, things are less certain. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that the favorite to start in that spot remains Isaiah Oliverwho has taken on a large workload on the inside since the end of the 2020 season. The past campaign was cut short by a torn ACL, limiting him to four games played and putting his availability at the start of 2022 in question.

Despite the injury, Oliver was given a one-year deal to stay in Atlanta. That could end up paying off for both sides, as the 25-year-old is on track with his recovery. “I essentially get, like, a redo,” he said earlier this month“I get that year over again, being in the same system with the same team and the same guys.”

Ledbetter names Darren Hall among the “several” players Oliver will be competing with for the starting slot job. The 2021 fourth-rounder registered one start out of the 14 games he played in last season, totalling 27 tackles in a limited defensive role. Overall, the competition for the third CB position will be one to watch during training camp, as the Falcons look to take a much-needed step forward defensively.

Latest On Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver

Three days after his 25th birthday, Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver was carted off the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium with what would eventually be diagnosed as a season-ending, surgery-requiring right ACL tear. Nine months later, Oliver is still working his way back onto the field, not fully ready to return, but not far off, according to Michael Rothstein of ESPN. 

The advancement in science, medicine, and rehabilitation has affected so much about injury returns in the NFL. Comments worrying about if players will look like their former selves after an ACL-repair surgery are few and far between these days with many players not showing a hint of injury upon their return to full strength. The one thing that doesn’t seem to be too affected is the recovery timeline. The length of time it takes to return to the gridiron after a torn ACL remains lengthy, ranging from nine months to one year. Some doctors will permit returns after as few as six months, but a consensus full-recovery usually takes a bit longer.

With this timeline in mind, Oliver is perfectly on track. He spent six weeks on crutches and still required some time after to get comfortable off of the crutches. It wouldn’t be until three-and-a-half months after his surgery that Oliver would begin running again. Months worth of atrophy made it an unfamiliar feeling, but, slowly, Oliver returned to surer footing, with his teammates helping him as much as he wished he could help them.

“Just make sure you’re keeping him right and in a good head space,” cornerback AJ Terrell, Oliver’s teammate of the past two seasons, told Rothstein. “And just letting him know that we got him and just taking care of his body and get back as soon as possible.”

The injury couldn’t have occurred at a worse time for Oliver as he was four weeks into a contract year. Oliver hasn’t proven himself to be a ball-hawk, snagging only one interception in his career, but he’s shown his ability to separate the ball from an offensive player with 27 passes defensed and three forced fumbles in his first four years. He was also in the process of learning to play in the slot to give Atlanta a strong three-man cornerback group of himself, Terrell, and Fabian Moreau. If Oliver had showed success in expanding his versatility, it would have presented him with another bargaining chip to bring to the discussions over his next contract.

Fortunately for Oliver, the Falcons are giving him another opportunity at a contract year. Shortly after the season, Atlanta re-signed Oliver to a one-year, $2.39MM deal.

“I essentially get, like, a redo,” Oliver explained. “I get that year over again, being in the same system with the same team and the same guys.”

In May, seven months post-surgery, Oliver’s running started to feel more natural. Falcons secondary coach Jon Hoke claimed he “can see the significant growth” each week, while noting that there is still some progress to go.

Oliver participated in individual drills this offseason while continuing his rehabilitation. The next steps will come in camps and will begin to test Oliver’s confidence and comfort in real-time scenarios. Until then, Oliver will continue to plug away at his rehab with his teammates by his side.

Falcons Re-Sign Cornerback Isaiah Oliver

After ending his 2021 campaign early with a season-ending knee surgery after only four games, cornerback Isaiah Oliver will return for at least one more year in Atlanta. The team announced the re-signing on their website, giving what is essentially a one-year tryout for the former second-round draft pick. 

Throughout the first three seasons of his career, Oliver failed to find consistent success playing on the outside. Especially when AJ Terrell showed up on the other side of the field, Oliver was picked on, allowing quarterbacks a 75.6% completion rate and allowing receivers 12.5 yards per reception.

Defensive coordinator Dean Pees noticed that Oliver was able to find success in the slot, reminding him of former nickel corners that he coached like former-Raven Ladarius Webb and former-Titan Logan Ryan. The Falcons began rotating him into the slot near the end of the 2020 season and felt good about his play. He was set to put forth the best season of his career until his injury in a Week 4 matchup with Washington. Pees attempted to replace Oliver’s production in the nickel role, but failed to find a substantial replacement.

It’s a win-win scenario for both sides. The Falcons get a corner they are familiar with on an affordable deal with limited cap space. Oliver gets a single season at a position he’s shown he can excel at for a chance to earn a more lucrative deal.

Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver Out For Season

The Falcons will be without one of their top cornerbacks the rest of the way. Isaiah Oliver suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s loss to Washington and will miss the remainder of the season, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes.

Oliver, who is in a contract year, is set to undergo surgery Wednesday, Ledbetter adds. The former second-round pick played 81% of Atlanta’ defensive snaps in the team’s Week 3 win and has been a starter for much of his career.

This represents a major blow for Oliver, who had fared better to start his fourth season. After back-to-back rough years, Oliver will head to IR having rated as a top-15 cornerback (per Pro Football Focus). The Colorado alum allowed quarterbacks to complete 66 and 70% of their passes, respectively, in 2019 and ’20. This season, albeit in a smaller sample size, passers have only connected on 53% of the passes thrown in Oliver’s direction. Oliver, 25, has also forced a fumble this season.

Atlanta has 2020 first-round pick A.J. Terrell and offseason pickup Fabian Moreau as its top corners. Fourth- and fifth-round rookies Darren Hall and Avery Williams may also see more time as a result of Oliver’s injury. Williamson stepped into a larger role in Week 4, with Oliver’s injury leading to the Day 3 rookie playing 50 defensive snaps Sunday.

The Falcons are also placing punter Cameron Nizialek on IR due to a hamstring injury. They promoted recently acquired punter Dustin Colquitt to their active roster earlier today.

Draft Pick Signings: 5/9/18

Today’s draft pick signings:

  • The Falcons have agreed to terms with second-round cornerback Isaiah Oliver, fourth-round running back Ito Smith, sixth-round receiver Russell Gage, and sixth-round linebacker Foyesade Olukom. That leaves Atlanta with just two remaining unsigned draft picks, first-round wideout Calvin Ridley and third-round defensive tackle Deadrin Senat. None of the four selections signed by the Falcons today figure to have much of a 2018 role, but given the strength of Atlanta’s roster, the club was able to target future value. Oliver fits the Falcons’ size requirements for a defensive back and could help out down the line, while Smith is a hedge against Atlanta failing to sign Tevin Coleman, who will become a free agent at season’s end.
  • Fifth-round offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby has signed his rookie deal with the Lions. Crosby surprisingly fell to Day 3 of the draft after many analysts pegged him as at least a Day 2 selection. Although he played tackle at Oregon, Crosby could shift to guard in Detroit, especially given the presence of incumbent tackles Taylor Decker and Ricky Wagner. Crosby may compete to start at left guard, but with Graham Glasgow likely locking down that position, Crosby is probably looking at reserve duty for 2018.
  • The Steelers have inked their first rookie to a contract, as fifth-round rookie running back Jaylen Samuels is now signed. Samuels, a North Carolian State product, was something of a jack-of-all-trades during his collegiate days, and it won’t be surprising if he sees action at fullback, tight end, or receiver during his rookie season in Pittsburgh. Long-term, Samuels could be a candidate to replace Le’Veon Bell, who will once again play under the franchise tag in 2018.
  • Fifth-round wideout Justin Watson has singed his rookie pact with the Buccaneers, tweets Jenna Laine of ESPN.com. Watson posted excellent athletic testing results and put up outstanding production at Pennsylvania, but he’s coming from a small school and Lance Zierlein of NFL.com says Watson “doesn’t move with desired suddenness.” Watson likely won’t factor into Tampa Bay’s offense this season, but could carve out a role on special teams.
  • The Patriots didn’t land a first-round quarterback as many had projected, but they did pick LSU signal-caller Danny Etling in the seventh round, and he’s now under contract. New England doesn’t figure to keep three quarterbacks on its roster, so Etling will likely (at best) spend the 2018 season on the club’s practice squad. It’s possible he’s just a camp arm.

NFL Draft Rumors: Patriots, Key, 49ers

After losing Nate Solder in free agency, the Patriots are on the lookout for offensive tackle help. With that in mind, the Patriots hosted Texas tackle Connor Williams on a visit on Wednesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

Thanks to the Brandin Cooks trade earlier this offseason, the Pats are armed with two picks late in the first round. Williams could be available when the Pats are called to the podium at No. 23, though the league-wide need for tackles could result in the 6’6″ lineman going higher.

Here’s the latest batch of NFL draft news:

  • LSU outside linebacker/defensive end Arden Key worked out for the 49ers on Wednesday and will move on to the Raiders on Thursday, Rapoport tweets.
  • South Dakota State tight end Dallas Goedert, who could be the first tight end to come off of the board, visited the Dolphins on Wednesday, Rapoport tweets. Miami is reportedly high on him, but he has also met with the Seahawks, Chargers, and Lions, according to Rapoport. As previously reported, the Vikings met with Goedert last week.
  • Cornerback Isaiah Oliver has had workouts/visits with the Eagles, Falcons, Bears, Texans, 49ers, Cardinals, Panthers, Patriots, Saints, Broncos, and Cowboys, sources tell Matt Miller of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). Miller personally believes that he would be a great fit for Arizona. NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Oliver ranked as the 36th best prospect in this year’s draft and it would be no surprise to see him go in the first round.
  • Georgia running back Nick Chubb will visit with the Buccaneers on Wednesday, according to Josh Norris of NBC Sports (on Twitter). Chubb has been lauded for his power and ability to run on the inside and figures to be a second round pick.
  • The Lions hosted Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson for a visit on Tuesday, Rapoport tweets. Johnson was recently bumped from Jeremiah’s top 50 but should still garner consideration in the second round.