DAN BICKLEY

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

May 9, 2019, 6:26 PM | Updated: May 10, 2019, 7:35 am
Arizona Cardinals second round draft pick Andy Isabella speak during an NFL football news conferenc...

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)

(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.

Array
Life Changer Loans

Life Changer Loans

Comments

Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Dan Bickley

Head coach Kliff Kingbury of the Arizona Cardinals participants in a team training camp at State Fa...
Dan Bickley

Kliff Kingsbury biggest winner of Cardinals’ start to preseason

Dan Bickley writes that Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury is the biggest winner out of the team's preseason win over the Bengals.
3 days ago
General manager Steve Keim (R) of the Arizona Cardinals talks with president Michael Bidwill before...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals’ stars need to justify lack of offseason spending on defense

The Cardinals are carrying some luggage, baggage and a lot of question marks into the 2022 season, but they have room in the overhead bins.
7 days ago
Kevin Durant attends "NYC Point Gods" premiere at Midnight Theatre on July 26, 2022 in New York Cit...
Dan Bickley

Kevin Durant’s exit could get messy for Nets, maybe Suns, too

By my calculations, there is only one way Durant lands in Phoenix. There must be a second act of petulance even worse than the first.
9 days ago
Inside linebacker Isaiah Simmons #9 of the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL game at State Farm Stad...
Dan Bickley

Isaiah Simmons must become a playmaker for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals' roster lacks high-end talent and that's why they need third-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons to break out this season.
16 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals sits on the bench during the second half against the Los A...
Dan Bickley

Kyler Murray’s study clause is embarrassing for Arizona Cardinals, QB

The contract for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray including a study clause is a bad look for the organization and its leader.
23 days ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray addresses the media, Friday, July 22, 2022, in Tempe, Ar...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals, QB Kyler Murray embark on Act II of marriage

Training camp is upon us. Kyler Murray is under contract through 2028. It's now Act II in the life of our franchise quarterback. All aboard.  
25 days ago
Like Kyler Murray, Cardinals’ Andy Isabella is an undersized underdog