Andy Isabella is a speed demon with legitimate route running ability. How will the NFL use him? How should this affect his dynasty value?
NFL teams love speed. They prove this time and time again in the NFL Draft. John Ross, Breshad Perriman, Phillip Dorsett and Corey Coleman are all recent examples of players that teams invested in based primarily on their speed. Andy Isabella has that kind of speed.
This isn’t meant to say that Andy Isabella is going to be drafted in the first round. It isn’t meant to say that Andy Isabella is going to struggle in the NFL, as those other prospects have. It is meant to say that the NFL wants speed, and Andy Isabella has it.
This is a good thing. The NFL is going to like what they can do with Andy Isabella’s 4.35 40-yard dash, and someone is probably going to invest in him on day two of the NFL Draft.
The thing that separates Andy Isabella from some of the speed demons in this class and in recent years is that he is a far more well-rounded prospect. He doesn’t rely entirely on his speed as some other athletically gifted prospects do. He is attentive to his craft and uses his speed as a weapon rather than a crutch.
Andy Isabella runs fantastic routes, is explosive out of his breaks and makes sharp horizontal cuts. His short area quickness and acceleration out of his breaks allow him to create separation at the top of his route, and his long speed helps him continue to separate through the latter part of his routes.
The fascinating part about his route running is that he still has a lot that he can improve on. He already excels in this area and should only get better at the NFL level. His athleticism makes the sky the limit for his route-running potential.
He uses his speed and agility to his advantage with the ball in his hands and is elusive in the open field. His speed makes him a threat to take the ball to the endzone on any given play. Size limits his ability to break tackles in the way that some of the other wide receivers in this class can, but his ability after the class definitely grades out positively.
His agility and quickness help him beat press coverage, and defensive backs won’t have the chance of direction to recover on deep routes due to his long speed. He tracks the ball exceptionally well and has the ability to make late adjustments to the ball trajectory.
The primary concerns, beyond his obvious size limitations, involve his hands. Andy Isabella is a body catcher that lets the ball into his frame too often. He can have concentration drops from time to time. He isn’t a strong contributor in contested catch situations.
As a slot wide receiver, the ability to catch the football through contact is important. As a deep threat, contested catch ability and the ability to extend and catch the ball away from his frame is important. Both of those things are flaws in two of the roles that you could project Andy Isabella to in the NFL.
Andy Isabella’s route running, releases, explosiveness, long speed, and tracking ability all help to minimize the effects of his flaws, but those flaws still prevent him from projecting perfectly as a deep threat or a slot wide receiver.
Isabella is going to be an interesting player to watch in the 2019 NFL Draft. I have no idea how the NFL is going to value him, but I expect him to be selected on day two. The next thing to watch is how an NFL team decides to use him. He has far more translatable traits as a deep threat than a player like Emmanuel Hall does, and his route running ability and explosiveness should allow teams to use him as more than just a pure deep-threat wide receiver.
For dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts, I think that I feel comfortable taking Andy Isabella early in the second round, knowing that I may have just picked a winning lottery ticket at that spot. I think it’d be tough for me to select a player in the first round of my rookie drafts that may have volume limitations in the NFL, but I wouldn’t disagree with someone if they took him there.
While I don’t usually believe that long speed sets a floor for a prospect, I think that the combination with some of his other traits helps to solidify him into a locked-in role in the NFL. The question is how much volume that role is going to command.