When Andy Isabella’s 40-yard dash times first surfaced Saturday, the initial results seemed like mistakes.
The 4.56 and 4.46 marks are dream times for most sprinters, but for the University of Massachusetts product Isabella, something seemed off. As it turned out, the times actually were incorrect. Isabella ultimately ran a 4.31 – which tied him for the fastest time among all NFL combine participants Saturday – and that was no mistake. Defensive backs didn’t run Saturday, but no players who did were faster then Isabella.
Last year, only two receivers ran under 4.40. This year, there were seven, and Isabella tied Ohio State’s Parris Campbell for the top spot.
Many have tabbed Isabella – who led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 1,698 receiving yards in 2018 – as a potential Patriots target. Isabella, who outlasted 2018 No. 4 pick Denzel Ward in the 100-meter dash at an Ohio high school regional meet in 2015, has now also beaten Ward’s top 40 time from a season ago.
The 5’10, 190-pound receiver told reporters at the Senior Bowl that he’s run a 4.26 before. Isabella has reportedly trained with former Patriots star Randy Moss, and Moss has been impressed by his skill set and potential.
“I don’t look at height,” Moss told NFL.com’s Chase Goodbread. “You look at Antonio Brown, there are smaller guys still out there doing it on the outside. Andy’s athletic ability is tops. I can see why he put up the numbers he put up.”
Top official 40 times for wide receivers at #NFLCombine (all groups):
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) March 2, 2019
According to NESN’s Doug Kyed, the admiration is mutual. Isabella isn’t afraid to bounce ideas off Moss, and he appreciates the opportunity to learn from a Hall of Famer.
“He’s been really tough on us,” Isabella told Kyed. “I like working with that style of coaching. He would have us out there running like eight 40s and then get on the line, run five routes and then get back on the line and run like eight more 40s full speed. And actually, the first day working out with him, I sat on the field for like 30 minutes just trying to drag myself to the car. And then the next day, we were out there doing the same thing. Now it’s more we have a relationship where I can talk to him and not be afraid to talk to him. He’s definitely teaching me a lot.”
Isabella has reportedly caught the eye of NFL scouts as well. Goodbread reported that they believe he belongs and has a future in the league. The comparisons to Julian Edelman, Wes Welker, and Danny Amendola are inevitable, but it appears as though Isabella is eager to carve out his own identity.
“The guy is going to be exciting,” an AFC scout told Goodbread. “Yeah, he’s small, but he’s a big play waiting to happen. The quickness is elite.”