Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room: TE Josh Oliver (San Jose State)

Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines two plays from 2019 NFL Draft prospect Josh Oliver, a tight end from San Jose State. The first play reveals how he’ll make money now; the second, the potential to make even more of it later. 

San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver has the pass-catching skill of a starter, the route running of a contributor, and the blocking of a free agent. No team is expecting Oliver to contribute immediately as an in-line tight end.

It doesn’t mean a team won’t be excited about selecting Oliver. In this RSP Boiler Room, we look at two plays that are indicative of Oliver. The first is what he can offer a team immediately as a contributor in the slot or two tight end sets.

Pass catchers with this kind of fluidity to adjust away from the breakpoint while maintaining a precision of technique to make the play usually have productive careers in the NFL. The league is often attracted to highly athletic players who lack the exactness of detail in areas that they are already supposed to be good at performing. This catch is indicative of Oliver’s catch radius which includes flexibility, tracking, hands position, and focus.

If Oliver acclimates fast enough as a route runner, he could earn playing time as a slot receiver or H-Back that is featured on over routes, slants, skinny posts, corner routes, and seam routes. This is the money he can make right now in the league.

The opportunity to continue making money as a professional will come as a blocker. Oliver gained additional weight in 2018 so he can become a competent blocker. This is a work in progress and it requires a team to temper its expectations with a player still at an early stage of development in an important aspect of the position.

When examining Oliver’s blocking from this perspective, he’s on the right track.

Oliver’s block above is an indication of him absorbing important lessons with positioning, stance, strike, and striking power that he executes fluidly. That’s the most important part. If this looked like a calculated effort, you can bet that he will struggle with it in the NFL.

Wide receiver Robert Meachem was an excellent athlete at Tennessee and considered a top prospect several years ago. I remember watching Meachem dropping several passes during the first half of a home game against LSU.

Meachem was known as a body catcher and during the first half, he was trying to catch the ball with proper hands techniques. He dropped most of them and it appeared as if he was trying to solve a complex math problem rather than play a game of catch.

Late in the half, Meachem opted to body catch the football and the rash of drops ended.  Meachem might have been working on the new techniques but he hadn’t absorbed them enough to execute them on stage. This remained an issue for Meachem with the Saints and Chargers.

Oliver’s wind back block is far more performance ready. This one play doesn’t make him a complete blocker, but the techniques he executed are fundamental skills and many of them will translate to other blocks. It’s a sign that Oliver’s ability to learn is more of an asset than a detriment.

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), get the 2019  Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge.

Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP now (available for download April 1). 

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