The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. UMass wide receiver Andy Isabella is great from the slot and has finished his senior campaign early as the Minutemen finished their regular season a week early and did not qualify for a bowl game.
Position: Wide Receiver
2018 stats: 101 receptions, 1,697 receiving yards, 13 touchdown receptions, 16.8 yards per catch
Size: 5-foot-10, 190 pounds
NFL teams looking for a productive receiver, will not find any better than Andy Isabella. Even though opposing defenses knew he was getting the ball, Isabella was still able to rack up stats and did so at an extremely high level.
Over his career, Isabella has hauled in 230 passes for 3,525 yards and 30 touchdowns. Isabella is a player that continually got better throughout his career at UMass, as every year the number of receptions, yards and touchdowns increased. He also gashed defenses most times he touched the ball, averaging 16.8 yards per catch his senior season. Isabella has experience returning punts and kicks, although that mostly occurred early in his career. He never recorded a return touchdown, but averaged 19.3 yards per kick return and 8.6 yards per punt return.
Slot receivers aren’t usually a high priority for NFL teams in the draft. With that, Isabella will likely not be drafted in the first or second round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He will still be a quality selection for whatever team gets him in the back half of the NFL Draft.
He has the ability to play the slot or on the outside, but will likely fit more into the slot receiver position in the NFL. Isabella gets off the line of scrimmage quickly, giving him a nice start to every play. After that, he shows good route running skills, with great cuts and the ability to get open on a wide variety of routes. Against zone coverage, Isabella often finds the soft spot to help the quarterback find him. He has the ability to beat defenses deep with his track-level speed. He has good hands on display once he is able to break free from coverage.
As a former running back, Isabella is great once he gets the ball in his hands. He can get past defenders with his speed, cuts or by running through tackles. He is always a threat to take it all the way after he has the ball in his hands, which has helped him produce a lot of big plays throughout his college career. UMass used him on a lot of end-arounds just to get the ball in his hands more often.
In addition to his role on offense, Isabella also provided a good returner for the Minutemen. He has good hands as a returner and uses his quick-twitch ability to make people miss.
The obvious weakness of Isabella is his size. Although he is listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, he is likely a little smaller than that. This raises a lot of questions for the next level including his durability. It didn’t seem to be a problem in college, as he played in 12 games for the last three seasons of his career.
Isabella doesn’t have great strength, which could cause problems for him beating press coverage in the NFL, even though he did a decent job against press coverage in college.
He is also limited as a blocker. At UMass, he was often hidden from blocking by being placed on the backside of the play or being sent in motion to create a diversion. Isabella will try to block well with good effort, but will struggle against NFL bodies.
His size gives him a small catch-radius, meaning quarterbacks will have a very tight window to throw to. While he is good at make uncontested catches, when there are defenders who are right on him, he often doesn’t have the strength or athleticism to come down with the ball.
Projected Draft Range: Third-Fifth round