Wideout Andy Isabella is listed as the Arizona Cardinals top kickoff and punt return man on the club’s latest depth
When the 62nd-overall selection of last year’s NFL Draft rolled around, the Arizona Cardinals couldn’t have been more excited. With the second-round pick that was obtained from the Josh Rosen trade, the club landed a wide receiver with blinding speed. Andy Isabella ran the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds at the combine, and had the Cards believing that he’d be a big-time contributor for them during his rookie campaign.
Unfortunately, Isabella turned out to be one of Arizona’s biggest disappointments of 2019. It’s a brand new year, however, and Kliff Kingsbury has promised that the 23-year old will have a much bigger role this coming fall. Based on the latest depth chart, the Cardinals head coach appears to be telling the truth about his plans for the potentially-explosive Isabella.
Besides being listed as the Cards number-four wideout, Isabella has been handed the squad’s kickoff and punt return duties. Last season, the 5’9,188 pounder dabbled in the return game, but in a very limited manner. Isabella ran back five kickoffs for 105 yards, posting a fairly respectable 21 yards per return average.
Pharoh Cooper, Arizona’s top return specialist in ’19, signed a free agent contract with the Carolina Panthers. The braintrust obviously believes that Isabella will be a suitable replacement for the former Pro Bowl returner. The youngster handled the responsibility back in college, but the numbers registered by Isabella in doing so were nothing to write home about.
In 23 career kickoff returns for the Minutemen, Isabella totaled 443 yards, for an average of 19.3 yards per return. The Ohio native was credited with nine punt returns while at the school, talling 77 yards for a 8.6 yards per return average.
Backing up Isabella as the kickoff returner is Chase Edmonds, a third-year running back out of Fordham University. The Cardinals number-two punt return option will be Christian Kirk, a third-year pass-catcher out of Texas A&M.
Arizona is hoping that Isabella will excel in the role, and provide excellent field position for the “Air Raid” offense. The former high school track star could very well the fastest player on the team. Kingsbury needs to recognize what he has, and find some ways to use Isabella’s incredible speed to the Cards advantage.