Isaiah Oliver is headed to Atlanta.

After getting denied a spot in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday night, the junior cornerback still had to be somewhat patient as the second round unfolded Friday night. The Falcons selected Oliver at the No. 26 spot in the second round and No. 58 overall.

"It's just exciting," Oliver said. "Going through everything I've gone through with the whole NFL combine process, pro day, all the work that you've done. It really, truly, finally paid off hearing your name called. And to see it on TV, Michael Vick saying my name, it was everything I could've wished for."

Oliver's selection continues a recent parade of Buffaloes defensive backs that have garnered significant interest from NFL front offices. Last year three CU defensive backs were selected, including Chidobe Awuzie (second round, Dallas), Ahkello Witherspoon (third round, San Francisco), and Tedric Thompson (fourth round, Seattle). Another one of Oliver's former CU defensive back teammates, Ken Crawley, played with the Saints last season.

Despite missing two games last year due to a knee injury, Oliver still earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors from the Associated Press as well as the league coaches. Oliver recorded two interceptions in 2017 with a team-high 13 passes deflected.


Oliver's lone interception in 2016 helped seal a win at Stanford that was critical in the Buffs' drive to the Pac-12 South Division title, and he also returned a punt for a touchdown late in a home victory that season against UCLA. In three seasons at CU, Oliver finished with 32 passes broken up (the 10th-most in CU history) and 35 total passes defended, which is tied for 13th in program history.

Although some draft prognosticators pegged Oliver as a potential late first-round pick, Oliver had to watch from his family's home in Phoenix as seven cornerbacks were selected ahead of him. That list included four previous selections during Friday's second round — Iowa's Josh Jackson (Green Bay), North Carolina's M.J. Stewart (Tampa), LSU's Donte Jackson (Carolina), and Duke Dawson of Florida (New England).

However, during CU's pro day more than a month ago, Oliver got a sense the Falcons were an interested party given the amount of brass that traveled to Boulder to watch him work out.

"I knew that they were going to get around to me eventually. Whatever team it was going to be I was going to be happy to be there," Oliver said. "You can't really choose where you want to go. Teams have choices they think will be better fits for them. I know what I can do on the football field and I know how good I'm going to be. I'm looking forward to getting to Atlanta and showing everybody else.

"When they came to work me out, it was the DB coach, the defensive coordinator, head coach, and general manager that all flew down to watch us work out. I knew it was a team that had me pretty high on their draft board in the corner area. When they were coming up on the pick, I was going back-and-forth with my agent and we felt like that was a good spot and that was possible. Seeing it come to fruition was pretty cool."

Several other CU Buffaloes, including running back Phillip Lindsay, will keep their fingers crossed about hearing their names called on Saturday as the draft concludes with rounds four through seven.

Pat Rooney: or