Isaiah Oliver hopes versatility will help 49ers win games in 2023 NFL season

Newly signed defensive back Isaiah Oliver is ready to put his versatility to the test with the 49ers in 2023.

The former Atlanta Falcon spoke to local Bay Area media on Thursday after officially signing a two-year contract, sharing that while his role has yet to be defined by the coaching staff of the 49ers, he succeeded playing mainly in the slot machine.

“As I understand it, I’m here to be versatile and help in any way I can,” Oliver said on Thursday. “Really, I think I need to take the time to see where I fit in and what it looks like going forward in OTAs and training camp. But my goal is to come in and help the team. in any way.

Oliver came back into the mix at the end of the 2022 NFL season after suffering an ACL injury in Week 4 of 2021. The Colorado product shared that physically he didn’t feel like he was on the court until in December.

In five seasons, Oliver has racked up 203 tackles — 153 solo, seven for loss — and two interceptions in 62 games. The defensive back believes his flair for contact with the bigger players on the pitch comes not just from his physical stature, but also from his “envy”.

The 6-foot, 210-pound defenseman isn’t shy about contact, comparing himself to former 49ers corner K’Waun Williams who, after four seasons with the 49ers, signed with the Denver Broncos last March.

“I definitely felt more comfortable in that,” Oliver said. “I felt like I could play a bit more to my strengths. Just being around the ball, being fit for the run, I felt really comfortable and I like doing it a lot.

“K’Waun Williams was here a long time and he was one of the safest tacklers in the league, and was never afraid to go out there and hit something.”

Oliver will join Charvarius “Mooney” Ward, Deommodore Lenoir, Ambry Thomas and Sam Womack on the court. With the departure of Jimmie Ward to the Houston Texans, the 49ers have a nickel gap to fill and Oliver is a perfect fit.

“I think my strengths are really being able to get around the ball, being a good tackler and being able to make plays on the ball that way,” Oliver said. “It’s something I’ve excelled at over the past two years and I continue to improve.”

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Oliver is eager to find his role while working with new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who has risen through the ranks as a defensive backs coach. Oliver sees this as an opportunity he should take advantage of.

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