AnalysisNFL Draft 2019

Vikings Draft Profile: Andy Isabella, WR, UMass

This is the first in a series of draft profiles that we will be putting out to hopefully familiarize Vikings fans with possible draft targets. They should be coming near daily, and will include our thoughts on the likelihood of the Vikings targeting them, projections of draft position, and positive/negatives for each player. We hope you enjoy, and if you have any suggestions of prospects for us to look at, please leave a comment. We’re trying to find some lesser known and less covered names. Thank you!

Andy Isabella is an intriguing athlete. Isabella is not the biggest receiver on the field. at just 5’9” and 188 lbs, his size is a question mark, but his tenacity on the field and quickness make up for  a lot. The former Ohio track star tied Parris Campbell for the fastest 40-yard-dash at the 2019 NFL Combine. They both ran a 4.31, which is 3rd overall in this year’s combine behind Zedrick Woods of Mississippi and Jamel Dean of Auburn.

Over his 4 year at UMass, Isabella racked up 3526 receiving yards, 30 receiving touchdowns, and 3 rushing touchdowns. Perhaps the biggest plus in Isabella is the possibility of him returning punts. He’s dangerous with the football in his hands, and can make guys miss in open space. Although Isabella has only returned 9 punts in his college career, he could be taught to be the replacement to Marcus Sherels long term.

There’s no doubt that Isabella would solely play in the slot. His size, and slight lack of strength, make him a good fit to play inside. His quick feet and ability to gain yards after the catch make him dangerous on short routes where he is matched up with one defender. He also would have the advantage of learning from Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, two of the best route runners in the NFL, and could be molded into a top slot talent.

Where Isabella would struggle is with his limitations in size. He’s a chronic body catcher, and would have to learn how to get his hands out and make his plays away from his body. Small hands and a small catch radius would make him a tougher target for Kirk Cousins as throws to him would have to be very accurate. Cousins can be accurate, but he’s under pressure, throwing to a small target like Isabella might be an issue. His size also makes it so he would be susceptible to being knocked off the line. On the top of being knocked off the line, he doesn’t present much in the way of run blocking. Certainly, he’ll give you his best effort, he’s a fierce competitor, but he doesn’t have the size to back up his blocking like Laquon Treadwell does.

As of now, Isabella is projecting as a third to fourth round pick, and that makes him a great candidate for the Vikings to pick with their 81st or 114th overall picks. The Vikings will almost certainly be addressing offensive line needs in the first couple rounds, but could be ready to take another weapon by the third. Isabella could be a concern as he almost certainly will never be more than a slot receiver. One last note is that Isabella has worked out with Vikings legend Randy Moss in preparing for the combine. The rumbling seems to be that Patriots fans would love for Isabella to come to them following his days at UMass. However, it might be possible that NFL Hall of Famer and Vikings Ring of Honor member Moss could sway the feelings of Vikings fans to love Isabella.

Projected Draft Round: 3-4

Likelihood the Vikings are targeting him: Decent

Likelihood the Vikings could land him: Likely in the 3rd, the Patriots might prevent him from falling to the 4th

Best Traits: Speed and return potential

Biggest Drawbacks: Size, hands, and positional flexibility

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Kirby O'Connor

Kirby O'Connor is a graduate of Saint Mary's University of Minnesota, where he studied Electronic Publishing and minored in Art. Kirby is a lifelong, die-hard Vikings fan thanks to his father. You can find him on Twitter @kjocon14.

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4 Comments

  1. Nice write up! Isabella intrigues me, but for all the reasons you mention, I wouldn’t be happy if the Vikes used their 4th round pick on him. Now if he drops to the 6th, he would be an exciting pick.

    I think his size issue is general cause for alarm, and particularly with the Vikes assuming he replaces Treadwell on the roster. We would have a lot of munchkin receivers. Ideally I’d like to see the Vikes get a big body receiver like Miles Boykin in the 4th, but who knows who will be available there.

  2. Good write up Kirby. I’m ok with Isabella in the 3rd or 4th… I’ll take speed and quickness over size. Seeing Diggs in a Washington uniform has me worried enough to think about maybe drafting two WRs??? Emanuel Hall measured in at 6’2 201 and also ran a 4.31 at the combine. Hall is purely a vertical threat compared to Isabella, but he too would also be a good mid round option. Hall averaged over 23 yards per catch over his final two years at Missouri. The speed of Isabella or Hall could certainly open things up for Diggs or Thielen underneath. With Trae Waynes being potential 2nd to 3rd round trade bait, the Vikings could aggressively target a WR, RB, or TE (offensive weapon) as early as round two.

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