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Can Oliver make an impact in his second year?

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Thumper, Feb 19, 2008.

  1. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    By Michael Lombardo
    SDBoltReport.com

    The NFL draft is still two months away and the Chargers already know who they’ll select with their fourth-round pick. That’s because A.J. Smith used the selection in last year’s supplemental draft to tab CB Paul Oliver. Although Oliver never escaped the inactive list as a rookie, he figures into the team’s plans for 2008. Michael Lombardo explains how.

    The Chargers always knew Paul Oliver would be a work in progress. Team officials attended his workout in June and noticed he looked slow and out of shape. Oliver only trained for three weeks prior to his Pro Day, working until the very end to remain academically eligible for his senior season at Georgia.

    As a junior, Oliver tallied 57 tackles, three interceptions and two sacks. However, it was a game against Georgia Tech that really sold A.J. Smith on Oliver. During that contest, Oliver locked horns with Calvin Johnson (the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft) and limited him to two catches for 13 yards.

    When Smith decided to spend a supplemental selection on Oliver, he did so with an eye towards 2008. Smith knew he could lose Drayton Florence to free agency and would be forced to replace him. Smith figured if he was going to spend a 2008 draft pick on a cornerback, he might as well pull the trigger early and give Oliver a year to assimilate.

    “We had the opportunity to get a good football player and we took it,” Smith said. “Paul Oliver is very competitive, aggressive, confident player. He’s not cautious about anything he does on the field. You know how we like depth. We’ll add Paul to the mix as a Charger and time will tell.”

    That time is now. The Chargers are grooming Oliver to replace Eric Weddle as the team’s dime back, as Weddle is expected to move into the starting lineup to replace Marlon McCree, who is expected to be released.

    The dime back has responsibilities of both a cornerback and a safety, which will allow San Diego coaches to determine which position better suits Oliver in the long run. A move to safety makes sense, because it would disguise Oliver’s lack of speed and allow him to face the action and attack the ball.

    However, San Diego doesn’t want to give up on Oliver’s future at cornerback. The Chargers were patient with Quentin Jammer after his rough start at the position, and he developed into one of the top 10 corners in the NFL.

    Oliver has that same type of potential. During the preseason, he registered seven tackles, two pass breakups, an interception and a sack in limited playing time. He looked particularly impressive coming up to stop the run and blitzing from the slot.

    Whether Oliver can transform his potential into production remains to be seen. With mini camps and offseason coaching sessions only a couple of months away, it won’t take long to find out.
     
  2. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    I wonder if he's been timed recently, now that he's had a chance to workout... :icon_eek:
     
  3. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    I'm confused; Is Oliver going to be moved to SS or is he going to be a nickel/dime back? I keep getting contradictory information about the plan for him
     
  4. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    It sounds to me like AJ projected Oliver as Florence’s replacement, then the Chargers quickly realized that he didn’t have the speed to be our nickel back.

    I don’t know if AJ would’ve burned that fourth rounder on a swingman/dime/backup safety type of player.
     
  5. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    I do not like any of the spin coming out with regards to Paul Oliver... And this line right here is a clear indication of just how thick they're laying the bull$hit on this story. If Oliver's speed is a big question mark, to the point that they're not sure he's going to hack it at CB, how can he POSSIBLY have as much potential upside as QJ? QJ ALWAYS had the physical tools, he just had to adjust to the speed and new rules in the NFL. Paul Oliver does not have have the same physical tools as QJ and to suggest that Oliver right now = QJ in his first season is a joke. Pretty much discredits the entire rest of the feel good piece IMO.

    I don't think I'm the kind of person that looks for negatives or reasons to naysay our boys... but the more I hear the more I wonder about this cat...
     
  6. SanDiegoRon

    SanDiegoRon BoltTalker

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    I saw it as cheap "insurance"...:yes:
     
  7. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    Here's the thing in part for In A Days; he hasn't even had a full season with the team to be in training or a full chance to learn the system. Hell Buster Davis is more of a 'bust' then Oliver and frankly neither are. I don't believe that Oliver doesn't have some skills but i think time is needed to bring it out.

    and yeah I'll be honest TK, I agree, it does sound like the chargers were expecting a nickel back and now are having to rethink whether or not he could be that. There's alot of spin, that does make me worried, and no one seems to be able to 1) give an approximation of his skills, 2) give an approximation of where the charger see him and 3) know what their long term plans are with him. There's no way that AJ would've spent a 4th rounder on a swingman/dime back, he expected at the best a nickel corner and maybe at worse a potential safety option.
     
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  8. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    I think that says it all right there... neither would I.

    I'm going to split hairs with you 'cause I think Buster had a much bigger impact than Oliver this year. Buster had 20 catches, averaged 9.4 per, and had a touchdown. Nothing to brag about... but did Oliver have a recordable stat other than "Games" this whole season?

    Furthermore when I'm talking about skills I mean just in the physical sense. I don't think Oliver's 40 time is going to drop two tenths of a second, no matter how hard we works out. Of course he'll grow into himself and hopefully develop the metal/recognition skills to be successful. But he's never gonna touch QJ in a foot race.

    But you're absolutely right in that it's not fair to hasten to judgment. Supplemental draft picks are less than rookies in their first years, so I can totally give Oliver a pass for this past season. But we obviously share a lack of comfort with the uncertainty and questions surrounding him right now.
     
  9. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

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    Jammer FTW
     
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  10. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Oliver has been a stellar performer since he first stepped onto a high school football field. He was timed unofficially with a sub 4.4 forty as a freshman college player, even allowing for the click delay on a stop watch. He had a 37" vertical leap. When the Chargers ran him through his paces, he was three weeks into a crash conditioning program for a tryout he didn't expect to have to do. Anyone who can take Calvin Johnson out of a game and pick off two passes while doing it has tools. He's been conditioning himself for more than nine months and he is still working out. There is a 13 pound discrepancy between his stated weight as college player and his present weight. Meaning he was heavier in college or he added some beef, or he has added a LOT of beef. We'll know for sure during the mini camps how fast he is, but at this point, I don't see a whole lot to worry about. I wouldn't expect him to replace any starters this season, though. There ain't no rule says a guys destined for safety can't be a nickel, especially if he was a very successful college corner.
     
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  11. boltmanbz

    boltmanbz Well-Known Member

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    sounds like to me that he takes weddles spot in his role as a safety/corner then u know exactly where a guy fits in
     
  12. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Weddle & Oliver at safeties (FS & SS are pretty interchangeable in our system), QJ & Cro at corners, Hart/Gordon/new guy at nickel sounds pretty darn good to me, especially if the new guy is Cro's cousin. :tup:
     
  13. in_a_days

    in_a_days dgaf

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    Ahhh thank you for the encouragement RC. :tup:

    Your spin is much more believable. :yes:
     
  14. Thread_Killer

    Thread_Killer Well-Known Member

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    I would like RC to read through my documents and assess my financial situation.

    I would also like him to examine my scalp and tell me if the Rogaine is working.
     
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  15. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Why would you want to cover that beautiful shiny skull of yours?? :icon_tease:
     
  16. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    If it's not, I'll bring some saddle soap to shine it up just in case. You don't want me anywhere near your finances. I majored in History for a very good reason. :lol:
     

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