Arizona Cardinals 2019 NFL Draft: 10 small school heroes you need to know
Andy Isabella – WR, Massachusetts
At this point of the draft season, it’s tough to call Andy Isabella a “hidden gem” or a “diamond in the rough.” After all, the Massachusetts receiver ran the fastest 40-yard-dash time (4.31 seconds) for his position at the combine and is widely regarded as a mid-round pick. But that doesn’t discredit him from being a small-school-hero, because he’s just that.
At 5-foot-9, 188-pounds, Isabella is the furthest thing from a physically intimidating player. But, he makes up for the lack of size with a game built to easily translate to the next level. The UMass product not only has the speed to burn, but he also has the agility, quickness, and creativeness to be a menace after the catch. Per Pro Football Focus, Isabella had 1,489 of his 3,520 college receiving yards after the catch.
As more of a body-catcher, Isabella relies on his separation to succeed. Luckily, he does just that, very, very well. He has creative press-beating techniques and is an explosive route-runner. He takes hard angles with his breaks and supplements with explosive burst, which, in turn, make an excellent horizontal route-runner.
Isabella is a slot receiver through and through, but his route-tree in the NFL won’t be limited to just shorter, horizontal breaking ones. He has excellent top-end speed and breaks fast on his vertical routes. Simply put, the UMass slot receiver should find success in the NFL at the position.
Round projection: late 2nd-3rd, Isabella will be limited to the slot for obvious reasons, but I don’t doubt his ability to be effective there. His YAC and route-running are an ideal fit for Kingsbury’s offense.