NAME: Josh Oliver
SCHOOL: San Jose State University
CONFERENCE: Mountain West
POSITION: Tight End
JERSEY: No. 89
RECRUITMENT RATING: 2-star
WT: 253 lbs
Route Running – His stance when lined up as a receiver is encouraging. Solid amount of usage in the vertical passing game and up the seam. Likes to run his routes with physicality. separating away from contact at the top of his route. Lacks the desired change of direction in order to snap his routes off with pace. Breaks can be inefficient at times, but he’s better on the vertical plane. Experience running routes from in-line tight end, in the slot and on the outside of the formation.
Athleticism/Speed – Oliver has natural, all-around athleticism. While he doesn’t have that elite top gear, he possesses above-average speed on tape for the position. With good size and a natural, filled out frame, Oliver’s profile projects well for the next level. Has decent burst, including coming out of his receiver stance.
Hands/Ball Skills – Impressive ball skills, as he is consistently extended away from his frame and plucking the ball out of the air. Even when in space, Oliver has some extension back towards the catch point. However, his ball skills are at their best through traffic. He can outreach defensive backs, snag the ball above his head or below his waist, or on the run. Despite the occasional bobble, he generally has strong hands.
Body Control – Body control and adjustments are impressive, as his tracking of the football is outstanding. Easily flips his hips and puts his frame in a position for proper extensions to the ball. Has the body control along the boundary or in the end zone in order to high point passes when necessary.
YAC / Ball Carrier – Conscious effort to get vertical after receptions. His natural body control allow him to transition into a ball carrier right away. He has some contact balance, likely stemming from his plus athleticism. He’s comfortable working through defenders, with solid power in order to stay upright.
Run Blocking – More of a positional blocker, but has the upper body strength to be pretty effective. Aware of his body positioning and hat placement, getting his frame in-between the defensive lineman and ball carrier. Enough power and grip strength in his upper body to stop the lateral movements of defensive lineman or get them off-balance. Not a ton of driving in his run blocking. When asked to block in space, he’s patient to a fault. Doesn’t necessarily collapse the space on defensive backs, instead choosing to let them come to him. Would like to see more aggressiveness, even when this technique has been effective.
Pass Protection – Nice wide base in his pass protection and strong lateral movements. Has a decent anchor, not getting completely blown back into the pocket. Like his run blocking, doesn’t have a ton of strength in his lower half in order to drive defensive lineman or blitzers. More of a positional blocker.
BEST TRAIT – Ball Skills
WORST TRAIT – Route Running
RED FLAGS – None
Oliver produced more than half of his career numbers in his senior season, suggesting that he is an ascending player. He has NFL athleticism, but there are still some raw aspects to his game despite the increase in production. Still, Oliver did enough this season to warrant an invite to the Senior Bowl. He likely will never be a dominant factor in the run game, but has enough traits to get by in the receiving game. Oliver has a relatively high ceiling, but best projects as a TE2 for an NFL team.
PROS: Naturally gifted frame and athleticism for the position. Has the big body to be both a mismatch in the passing game and a potential extra blocker on the line of scrimmage. Can be used as an in-line tight end as well as a slot player or even an outside wide receiver. Is very athletic for a player of his size. Has reliable hands. Can make nice contested catches in the air. Has very good body control for a player that big. Is a true red zone and middle of the field threat with speed and size in the modern age.
CONS: Very raw for the position overall. More developed as a receiver than a blocker. Can dominate opposing defenders with blocks, but doesn’t do with with enough consistency or technique. Though impressively athletically overall, he lacks true top speed. Not much production to his name as a senior. Learning curve could be steep at the NFL level due to how technical he must become rather than being bigger and faster than everyone at his current competition level.