Share this story...
Latest News

Bickley & Marotta weekdays at 10 a.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station

Dan Bickley

Like Kyler Murray, Cardinals’ Andy Isabella is an undersized underdog

Arizona Cardinals second round draft pick Andy Isabella speak during an NFL football news conference, Thursday, May 9, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

Andy Isabella is shorter than Kyler Murray. He’s faster than Kyler Murray. What other NFL rookies can make such a claim?

Not many.

Isabella is one of seven children. He has been described a ball of muscle. He played at UMass and would’ve been the perfect pick for the Patriots, just like N’Keal Harry would’ve been perfect for Arizona.

Isabella has a hardcore mentality. He has relentless ambition. He has great boyhood anecdotes, from falling asleep with a football to building NFL stadiums out of Lego pieces.

He’s fought bias, just like Murray. His high school coach described him as “cartoon fast.” According to NFL.com, Isabella once encountered a “40-yard dash timer at a 2014 SPARQ combine, who so refused to believe Isabella’s 4.39 clocking time that he made him run it three more times.”

Or the Oklahoma State recruiter “who withdrew a late scholarship opportunity less than 24 hours after extending it.”

That’ll change your perspective.

Like Murray, Isabella comes with elite production and tantalizing speed. Like Murray, the only drawback is height and physical stature. Isabella has a golden opportunity because of smaller, smarter slot receivers who’ve blazed a trail before him, guys like Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.

Murray owes the same debt of gratitude to pioneers like Drew Brees and Russell Wilson.

“I’m excited to prove people wrong,” Isabella said. “To prove people I can play in this league.”

Isabella is cast from a great mold, a self-driven player with sure hands and iron will. To prepare for the NFL Draft, he purchased a Jugs machine. He paid his 10-year old sister $1 a day to feed footballs into the machine, and you can watch video of Isabella catching those balls while standing on one leg.

But, seriously. One dollar a day? For his kid sister?

“That was before the draft, so I was a little broke,” he said.

Isabella has since hooked his sister up with merchandise and apparel, the stuff that begins to populate the closet of a professional athlete.

But Isabella is more than just a draft pick, representing more than a new crop of wide receivers attending rookie camp. He is the pick the Cardinals received from the Dolphins in exchange for Josh Rosen.

That makes him a trivia question, a footnote to history and the player who will always be compared to the former Cardinals quarterback. And maybe this will end up as a winning proposition, especially if a speedy, intelligent, highly-competitive wide receiver flourishes in Kingsbury’s offense.

“I would always look up stats after my games to see what other teams are doing, and Texas Tech would always have 800 yards and guys would have 300 yards of receiving,” Isabella said. “And I was like, ‘What’s going on? Why am I not there?’

Isabella now finds himself in Arizona, for the first time in his life. Like Murray, he is an underdog and undersized. Superfast and tailor-made for Kingsbury’s Pro Raid attack.

Or so we hope.

Bickley & Marotta

Cardinals Interviews and Podcasts

Dan Bickley bio
Dan Bickley is the most influential sports media member in Arizona sports history, having spent over 20 years as the award-winning lead sports columnist for The Arizona Republic and AZCentral.com and almost two decades as a Valley sports radio talk show host. In spring 2018, Bickley made the decision to leave the newspaper to join the Arizona Sports team as host of the entertaining and informative midday show Bickley and Marotta, as well as bring his opinionated and provocative column exclusively to ArizonaSports.com.
Bickley’s journalism career began in his hometown of Chicago, where he was part of a star-studded staff at the Chicago Sun-Times. He chronicled Michael Jordan’s six NBA championships; covered the Olympics in eight different countries and attended 14 Super Bowls; spent three weeks in an Indianapolis courthouse writing about Mike Tyson’s rape trial; and once left his laptop in an Edmonton bar after the Blackhawks reached the Stanley Cup Finals.
He has won multiple awards, written two books, formed a rock band, fathered three children, and once turned down an offer to work at the New York Times.  His passions include sports, music, the alphabet, good beer and great radio. After joining Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, he couldn’t be happier