Name: Isaiah Ford
School: Virginia Tech
Position fit: Outside WR
Stats to know: Had 79 receptions for 1,094 yards in 2016, both top-30 marks in the country, but his catch rate of 57.7 percent ranked 306th.
What he does best:
- Great use of hands during routes. He can use them to help beat press off the line, he uses them to create slight separation during his routes and can use them at catch point.
- Good body control, able to high-point 50/50 balls and has good awareness of field surrounding to come down inbounds if near the sideline.
- Can track the ball well in the air and adjust his route to optimal positioning for the catch.
- Quick feet, separated well on slant routes where he caught 12-of-19 targets for 136 yards in 2016, though he did drop four of those seven incompletions.
- Can generally beat press coverage with a combination of his hands and footwork.
- Good, strong hands at catch point, can win contested catches with them.
- Can be really quick and explosive in and out of his breaks.
- Really sells his double moves and created separation often on stop-and-go routes.
- Speed doesn’t show on tape. Had a hard time creating separation on routes using speed alone.
- Use of hands during routes can also be a negative, as some of his work would be called for offensive pass interference in the NFL.
- Can get muscled downfield by corners, has missed many catches because of the combination of lack of separation and unable to get off the defender’s body at catch point.
- Didn’t run a ton of routes at Virginia Tech. 67 percent of his routes were slants, hitches and go routes.
- Doesn’t offer much after the catch. Rarely breaks a tackle and doesn’t show a ton of vision or quickness on screen passes. Forced only 18 missed tackles on 210 catches over the last three years.
- Concentration issues. Has had inexcusable drops in games and appears to not run full speed at times during games.
Player comparison: Steve Breaston
Breaston carved out a solid career for a few years as a complementary receiver. He could use his frame to go up and get the ball, and while Ford wins with more body control than physicality, he has the ability to move the chains even when he’s covered or when passes thrown inaccurately in his direction.
Bottom line: Ford is a tough player to evaluate, because he does some things very well but just doesn’t seem to have every piece to be a top NFL receiver. He’s not big and strong enough to outmuscle defenders, he’s not fast enough to just burn them, but he does have impressive body control to make catches in tight coverage. His quick footwork that allows him to beat press coverage and get open out of his breaks, as well as his ability to win jump balls makes him a solid receiving prospect. His ceiling may be a WR2, but that’s very valuable in today’s NFL.