The team at Vikings Territory has been busy working to get to know each of our newest Vikings draft selections and this week we will give you a chance to learn everything we know about these players through our reintroduction of the “Welcome to the Big Show” series.
Next Up: G Danny Isidora
Danny Isidora grew up in Weston, Florida, and was a four-star recruit coming out of high school. He chose Miami over Wisconsin and Florida State.
In his first year on campus, Isidora redshirted, and the following season he missed 10 games due to a foot injury. But as a sophomore in 2014, he started all 13 games at right guard, and would not miss another start as a Hurricane—39 straight starts to end his career. Isidora was a second-team All-ACC selection as a senior, and helped power and offense that averaged 425.9 yards per game that year.
College Attended: Miami
Collegiate Seasons: 4 (plus redshirt)
Games Played: 41
Games Started: 39
Height: 6 feet 3 inches
Weight: 306 pounds
Arm Length: 33 inches
Hand Size: 9 ⅞ inches
40-Yard Dash: 5.03 seconds
Bench Press: 26 reps
Vertical Jump: 29 inches
Broad Jump: 94 inches
3-Cone Drill: 8.13 seconds
20-Yard Shuttle: 4.9 seconds
- Ideal frame for an NFL guard. Thick thighs, wide lower body, and adequate arm length for playing in the inside.
- Possesses natural power as a blocker. Generates push in the run game and plays with good leverage.
- Has shown the ability to operate as an effective pulling guard. Good speed for the position (his 40-yard dash was in the 94th percentile at the Combine), and has impressive quickness.
- Explodes out of his stance and consistently gets to the second level.
- Durability is a plus; after an injury early in his career, didn’t miss a game for three straight seasons.
- Deep experience at one position; 39 straight starts at right guard.
- Better run blocker than pass blocker, but has extensive experience blocking in Miami’s dropback passing scheme. Consistently handled bull rushers in college.
- Patient and instinctive in space. Looks natural getting to defenders.
- Plays with an overly wide base at times, making him prone to being thrown off balance, especially in pass protection.
- During Senior Bowl practices, was beaten by power rushers at a much higher rate than at Miami. Raises questions about anchoring against NFL strength.
- Sometimes content to sit on blocks rather than finish.
- Almost no experience at left guard or center.
- Not a consistent dominator; still showed lapses in concentration and technique as a senior.
- Has a habit of working himself out of position, making blocks more difficult than they have to be.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Isidora is a smooth, natural athlete who excels in space and does a good job getting to the second level. He has good burst and punch, but he is a more of a finesse guard than a mauler; the Miami product doesn’t finish a ton of blocks, and has shown issues holding up against significantly stronger defenders. He’ll be tested with bull rushes in the NFL and will have to refine his technique—specifically his base—and rely on mechanics to get the job done.
At Miami, Isidora got extensive experience playing one position on the offensive line. This, combined with his familiarity with a pro-style, dropback passing offense will make him more ready to step in and contribute than many rookie guards. The question, of course, is how quickly he’ll adapt to playing the left side, as Minnesota will surely want to use him for depth at both guard spots.
Lance Zierlein – NFL.com: “Isidora is an athletic guard with good size and above-average hands who plays with a base that can get too wide. He has the lateral quickness to be a fit for teams looking to get their guards out in space, but his issues anchoring against bull-rushes at Senior Bowl were a concern. Isidora has enough talent to become a starter, but his issues holding up against power could derail those plans if he doesn’t address them.”
Rob Rang – CBS Sports: “Isidora is not the consistent dominator that his experience and All-ACC track record might imply but proponents of zone and power schemes will each find traits to work with. The biggest question for Isidora might be whether he can convince teams that he can play multiple positions up front…With his square-ish frame, it isn’t surprising that Isidora is a better run blocker than pass protector at this time. His durability and power project well to the NFL and a team could find a future starter with a mid-round investment.”
Pro Football Focus – Analysis Team: “Over three seasons at Miami, Isidora has proven his ability to be both a quality run-blocker and pass protector but hasn’t put his best performances in each facet together in one season. His best season as a run-blocker in 2014 saw him be more effective on the backside of zone plays than in recent seasons, though he maintained his quality on the playside of zone runs and especially at the second level. Combined with a strong 2016 season in pass protection after struggling in 2015, if Isidora can put everything together at once he has the potential to be a key contributor on an NFL offensive line.”
SELECTION & REACTION
Expert analysis of the pick:
Mark Dulgerian – NFL.com: “The Vikings fielded arguably the worst offensive line unit in the NFL last season. Isidora should at least provide some competition in camp entering the season.”
Ben Goessling – ESPN: “For all their talk about needing to target offensive linemen in the draft, the Vikings had taken only one in the first five rounds (third-round center Pat Elflein). They added another one with their final fifth-round pick in Isidora, who played right guard for Miami last year. It’s difficult to expect a fifth-round pick to step in and compete on the offensive line right away, but Isidora is a powerful guard with good agility who might be able to develop in the NFL.””
Jordan Plocher – Pro Football Focus: “Danny Isidora was the No. 5 guard on PFF’s draft board. Isidora’s third-down pass-blocking efficiency rating of 99.4 ranks second among all guards in the class.”
VT Readers – Poll: Vikings Territory readers were reasonably satisfied with the selection of Isidora; just over 50% of respondents graded the pick a “B.”
THE VIKINGS FIT
After fielding one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines last season, any addition to the unit is a good fit. The team addressed the tackle position in free agency, but waited for the draft to shore up the interior, with the selections of Isidora and Pat Elflein. Of course, fifth rounders can’t be expected to start immediately, and Isidora won’t be asked to; with the declaration that Elflein will play center, the Vikings will almost certainly move Joe Berger to right guard, meaning the interior of the offensive line is set with Alex Boone, Elflein, and Berger. Danny Isidora will start as a reserve and be given time to work on his strength and pass blocking technique. Still, with the rash of injuries along the line the Vikings sustained last season, it isn’t out of the question that we’d see Isidora pressed into action earlier than expected. He will likely battle Jeremiah Sirles to be the primary backup at either guard spot.
In the long term, it’s clear the Vikings would like to groom Isidora to be the starting right guard. He has extensive collegiate experience at the position (and none on the left side), and with Joe Berger at age 34 and already hinting at retirement, Rick Spielman and company will want to have a replacement ready for 2018 and beyond. The ideal scenario, if the Vikings can make it through the season relatively healthy, would be to let Isidora learn behind Berger in 2017, and step into the starting role once the veteran hangs it up.
WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW
DT Jaleel Johnson, Iowa
LB Ben Gedeon, Michigan
WR Stacy Coley, Miami