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Cardinals rookie Andy Isabella makes dazzling 59-yard TD catch

Andy Isabella, Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals rookie wide receiver Andy Isabella is fast. But is he NFL fast? He had a chance to show as much on Thursday against the Oakland Raiders.

Yep. The ball tracking and physical finish to the catch was impressive too.

How fast is Isabella? The former University of Massachusetts running back-turned-wide receiver ran a 4.31 second 40-yard-dash at the NFL Combine. That time finished at the top for all receivers at the combine, tied with the Indianapolis Colts’ Parris Campbell. Overall the time was third in the class, behind defensive backs Zedrick Woods and Jamel Dean.

The Cardinals must have seen that speed as a key competent to the Kliff Kingbury offense. His iteration of the Air Raid is aggressive with vertical pushes to stress all areas of the field. The best way to do that is with speed.

At 5-foot-9, 188-pounds, most see Isabella as a prototypical slot receiver (Julian Edelman, Cole Beasley, Wes Welker). While his size is best masked on the inside, he’s much more. Isabella is a rare breed of slot receiver who does his best work vertically, not horizontally; he’s so good at it, he can line up practically anywhere (including H-back).

In that aspect, a proper utilization for Arizona would be to line him up all over the place to create mismatches, similar to Tyreek Hill in Kansas City.

Though Isabella’s only catch was the 59-yard touchdown, the second-round pick (whom the Cardinals traded Josh Rosen for) showed that his legs may get him places in the NFL. As for the quarterback who threw the pass, he struggled. Charles Kanoff went 2-for-6 with his only other completion being a four-yard throw.