Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
(percentile rank among all WRs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.61 (18th)
Vertical: 35.5” (50th)
Broad: 127” (87th)
3-cone: 6.94 (50th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.34 (20th)
Ford turned in an impressive 3-year career at V-Tech.
As an 18-year-old true freshman, he led his squad in catches and yards. Those Hokies finished just 42nd in the country in completions, 70th in passing yards and 66th in TDs. Ford was responsible for 20.7% of the receptions, 25.1% of the receiving yards and 31.6% of the receiving scores — extremely strong market-share numbers for a freshman.
Ford dominated market share again in 2015. He had exactly twice as many receiving yards as Virginia Tech’s #2 WR. And get this: he became the 1st guy in school history to reach 1,000 receiving yards. Ford accounted for 11 of the team’s 24 receiving TDs (45.8%). Only 11 WRs nation-wide scored more times.
Ford set a new career high and Virginia Tech record with 79 catches this past season. His yardage and TD marks took a step back, though, as fellow junior WR Cam Phillips emerged as a 1B to Ford’s 1A.
Ford posted mediocre senior-year market shares: 28.3% of the catches, 29.8% of the receiving yards and 22.6% of the TDs. But he still left as the school’s all-time leader in career catches, yards and TDs.
Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com
Games watched - Ohio St. (2015), Tennessee, Boston College, East Carolina, Syracuse, Pittsburgh
Ford is a wiry receiver who struggles against physical press coverage. He also doesn’t possess the raw speed to beat defenders downfield — which was confirmed by his 4.61-second 40 time at the Combine.
Despite all that, he’s able to win downfield with short-area quickness to create just enough separation — and then plus balls skills and body control.
I wouldn’t label Ford a dominant high-pointer, but he does flash the ability to go up and get it.
His best asset, though, is his body control.
Ford doesn’t offer a whole lot after the catch. And he dropped 4 of 38 catchable targets in the 6 games I watched — a subpar 10.5% drop rate.
Ford looks like a bit of a ‘tweener at the next level. His lack of size, speed and strength would seemingly relegate him to a slot role. But he does his best work outside the numbers with his ball skills and body control.
The question is whether those assets will translate to the next level, despite the subpar measurables. Working in Ford’s favor is the fact that he’s a younger prospect. That leaves room for improvement in some of the nuances of his game — and he might still be able to pack some weight onto his frame.
Ford seems unlikely to turn into a dominant real-life or fantasy football WR. But he has enough traits to eventually emerge as a team’s #3 or maybe even #2 receiver.