PFF: Numbers show Cardinals rookie Andy Isabella is more than a slot WR
The Arizona Cardinals promise that rookie Andy Isabella isn’t a one-trick receiver.
Standing 5-foot-9, he profiles as a water-bug slot receiver who can make quick work in small spaces.
Isabella does, however, have some juice. He ran a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Draft Combine, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said the day he was drafted that Arizona would ideally want Isabella to move around.
“He had a lot of production inside and outside and that’s what’s exciting to us, is his ability to play on the outside and create space,” Kingsbury said. “He’s dangerous on the inside as well. But he’s a guy that showed he could do both at a high level.”
Isabella led college football with 1,698 receiving yards last season, including 13 touchdowns. But within those numbers, Pro Football Focus says that arguably his most dangerous ability is his speed working down the field.
His best route is the go, and the numbers show just how deadly he is by simply outrunning defensive backs.
Isabella was a pick-your-poison kind of guy when it came to his route tree. He was dominant on screens, incredibly efficient on hitch routes but was the only draft-class receiver who came close to (Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside’s) production on go concepts. On 22 targets, Isabella racked up 597 yards on 13 receptions, as every single one of his go route receptions moved the chains (seven first downs) or scored six points (six touchdowns). Isabella is more than just a slot weapon, and his downfield ability on go routes proves just such.
The even better news is that Isabella’s new quarterback, rookie No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray, produced while throwing to go routes at Oklahoma last season.
Of the Heisman winner’s 4,361 passing yards, 925 of them on 39 receptions were accumulated on that specific route, per PFF.
The targeted passes averaged 21.7 yards past the line of scrimmage, but Murray had a 62% adjusted completion percentage on such throws (the statistic “accounts for incompletions outside the quarterback’s control”). In other words, Murray was plenty accurate on go routes.
And that’s likely why selecting Isabella with the 62nd overall pick felt so necessary to the Cardinals.