Today, I’m going to be highlighting Virginia Tech WR Isaiah Ford.
Ford has sort of been going under the radar for the 2017 NFL Draft all offseason, and I’m not really sure why. This guy’s got game, and if the Los Angeles Rams are looking for a WR that can do a bit of everything, specifically somewhere in the rounds 3-4 range, Ford could very well be the guy. Let’s jump into it.
First things first, I watched multiple games on Ford months ago when I did my initial WR rankings. Pre-combine, he was ranked as my WR7 and a day 2 guy, but my post-combine rankings shook up a bit, and now Ford sits at my WR7 spot which would be WR6 if I didn’t include East Carolina WR Zay Jones with the perimeter guys (had him in the slot prior). Not much movement for Ford, but he’s 7th on my list of perimeter WR’s and is entrenched is a Day 2 guy. Here was my pre-combine write up on Ford:
Now, let’s elaborate a bit. Ford will not blow you away when he’s wearing gym shorts. He measured in at 6’1 and 195 lbs at the combine, and was pretty much average across the board in all combine testing (for ex. 4.61 forty). For a guy who doesn’t really stand out athletically, the forty could hurt Ford a bit, but it really doesn’t bother me, and I’ll explain why later.
In my scouting report, I noted that Ford is “good at releasing vs press, uses fancy footwork to win at the line of scrimmage”. Here’s an example of that:
It’s nothing crazy going on here, but Ford was actually a terrific basketball player in high school, and it clearly shows in his footwork. His ability to stay free at the line of scrimmage, particularly for a guy who’s light, is so important as it allows him to stack CB’s immediately and gives him a massive advantage out of the gate, as that’s one of the biggest differences for college wide-outs transitioning to the NFL.
Here’s a second example of Ford using quick footwork to freeze the CB only to burst into his fade route. Oh, he also makes a pretty good catch for a TD:
Remember when I said his slow forty time didn’t bother me? Why, you ask? Well, take a look below. Ford gets a free release off the line of scrimmage (the CB is 10 yards off), and Ford outruns both the corner and safety only to secure a gorgeous contested grab and still managed to get down in bounds for a spectacular touchdown.
You can tell at this point the BC corners are really starting to fear the deep ability of Isaiah Ford, but it really doesn’t matter. With a free release and over 10 yards of cushion from the CB, Ford cruises past him with ease and backtracks to secure another long contested grab:
Ford is a really polished WR who is ready to contribute right out of the gate. He knows his game is predicated on his ability to go deep, and the rest of his game develops from that facet. Here he simply crosses the face of the DB and makes a nice catch in traffic. Slants are a very big part of Ford’s game.
Here’s another beautiful route and move by Isaiah. He closes the gap between himself and the DB quickly, and once he’s face to face, Ford hits him with a stutter step and head fake effectively getting outside position and easily burns him for a huge catch and gain:
Once again Ford showcases his ability to win deep. The CB actually has really good coverage on this play, but the QB threw a perfect back shoulder fade, and Ford simply positioned himself well, timed his jump, and went up to snag the ball with a strong set of mitts. This is an incredible contested catch:
There are a lot of facets to like about Isaiah Ford’s game. He’s a really polished WR who’s very young (21 year old rookie) and has the ability to grow and develop even more. He can contribute immediately and should absolutely be in play for the Rams if they are looking to bolster their WR core with a versatile weapon somewhere in round 3 or maybe even 4.