Oliver said after Thursday's OTA workout that he's feeling more confidence this year than he did heading into his rookie campaign, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "It's probably going to be like that throughout my career from year to year," Oliver admitted. "But yeah, that's the biggest jump that I made. Becoming more confident in the scheme of things."
Atlanta's patience with Oliver was rewarded in 2018, as the second-round draft choice grew into a reliable component of the secondary after a shaky start to the year. Oliver's development was a key reason for Atlanta's improvement from 304.3 passing yards allowed per game over its first eight outings, to 214.9 passing yards allowed per game over the final eight. Both his on-field audition as well as his football IQ factored into the decision, but Atlanta's front office saw enough in Oliver to bestow upon him the No. 2 cornerback role. Expect Oliver to field around 80-to-85 percent of the team's defensive snaps in 2019 after handling 21.9 percent of the snaps as a rookie.
Oliver is expected to start at cornerback opposite Desmond Trufant in 2019, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
Oliver played only 24.6 percent of defensive snaps across 14 games in his rookie season, during which he notched 23 tackles, seven pass deflections and one interception. The No. 58 overall selection of the 2018 NFL Draft, Oliver flashed enough in a limited role in 2018 to inspire confidence in the Falcons' coaching staff that he'll thrive as a weekly starter. Oliver projects to receive every opportunity to improve Atlanta's secondary, which ranked sixth-worst against the pass last season.
Oliver concluded the 2018 season with 23 tackles, seven pass deflections and one interception after the Falcons selected him with the No. 58 overall selection in last April's draft.
The former Colorado Buffalo was less of a factor than many anticipated when Atlanta invested a second-round selection in him, fielding 43.8 percent of the special teams snaps and just 24.6 percent of the defensive snaps for a unit that ranked sixth-worst against the pass. Perhaps his most memorable moment came in Week 4 when Bengals receiver A.J. Green slipped behind him for a 13-yard touchdown reception within the final 10 seconds of regulation. Other than that, Oliver showed considerable promise in limited duty, recording a game-clinching interception of Panthers backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke in Week 16 and earning an overall performance grade of 70.0, according to Pro Football Focus. If Atlanta elects to let Brian Poole walk when his contract expires this offseason, Oliver will inherit a more integral role for the Falcons secondary in 2019.
Oliver racked up four combined tackles during Sunday's 38-14 win against the Redskins.
Oliver was exposed in the red zone by veteran quarterback Alex Smith, who completed a fade in the front left corner of the end zone to Josh Doctson shortly before the halftime whistle, providing Washington with its initial points of the afternoon. The rookie cornerback surrendered another long completion to Doctson in the third quarter (24-yard pass), but the play was walked back 15 yards following a taunting penalty. If Robert Alford (ankle) is once again unable to suit up in Week 10, Oliver will log his third career start against Cleveland's No. 23 passing attack (222.9 yards per game).
Oliver will start in place of Robert Alford (ankle) in Sunday's game at Washington, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Alford was ruled out for Sunday -- breaking a string of 46 straight starts -- providing Oliver the opportunity for the second start of his career. The Redskins will be without running back Chris Thompson (ribs) and wide receiver Jamison Crowder (ankle), which could create an increased reliance for Adrian Peterson and the run game.
Oliver is in line to start Sunday against the Redskins if Robert Alford (ankle) is ruled out, Kelsey Conway of the Falcons' official site reports.
Oliver will make his first start since Week 4 if Alford is unable to suit up Sunday, although it's worth noting head coach Dan Quinn was unwilling to rule Alford out following Thursday's practice. In that Week 4 shootout against Cincinnati, Oliver let A.J. Green slip past him for a last-second touchdown reception as the Bengals pulled out a 37-36 victory. The Redskins aren't the most pass-heavy bunch (22nd in pass attempts with 32.6 per game), but veteran signal caller Alex Smith may put the ball up a bit more than usual to try and expose the inexperienced defensive back in coverage.
Oliver (ankle) was a full participant in Thursday's practice, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Olived has logged two full practices this week after being sidelined for the first two games of the regular season due to an ankle injury. The rookie second-rounder is trending in the right direction to make his NFL debut against the Saints on Sunday.
Oliver (ankle) was inactive for Sunday's win over the Panthers, Will McFadden of the Falcons' official site reports.
Oliver had been questionable in the lead-up to Sunday's divisional game after sitting out Week 1 with the same injury. For the time being, he should be considered questionable for the team's Week 3 tilt against the Saints. Oliver was limited at practice late last week, indicating that he's progressing through his recovery and could return any day now.
Oliver (ankle) is questionable against the Panthers on Sunday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Oliver was a limited participant in practice throughout the week, so his questionable status is no surprise. With Keanu Neal (knee) already down for the season, Atlanta could elect to take a cautious approach with their rookie second-rounder's availability.
Oliver (ankle) was a limited participant for Falcons practice on Wednesday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Oliver may be ready to go for Sunday's interdivision tilt against Carolina, but Atlanta wants to ensure that their rookie cornerback is fully healthy before running him back onto the field. With Keanu Neal (knee) already down for the season and Brian Poole (ankle) a limited practice participant, the Falcons would rejoice at having their second-round pick back for Week 2 so long as it does not come at a great risk of re-injury.
Oliver (ankle) will not play against the Eagles on Thursday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Oliver has been limited for the last week due to an ankle injury and will not recover in time for Thursday's season opener. Though Oliver was once in the battle for a starting job, it seems likely that the 2018 second-rounder will begin the season in a rotational role when healthy.
Oliver (ankle) has been limited in practice this week, according to the Falcons' injury report.
Oliver has been limited this week due to an ankle injury, but look for his game status to be released on Wednesday following the team's final practice of the week.
Oliver recorded zero tackles as he played with the Falcons' second-team defense in a 28-14 loss to the Chiefs on Friday night.
Normally a lights-out defender of the deep ball, Oliver whiffed on a jam at the line of scrimmage as wideout Gehrig Dieter coasted under a Chad Henne pass for an easy third-quarter score. It seems increasingly improbable that Oliver will wrestle the slot corner role from Brian Poole by Week 1, let alone the No. 2 cornerback job from Robert Alford, which seemed possible when the Falcons selected the Colorado product 58th overall.