Uncharacteristically, the Green Bay Packers selected three wide receivers in last year’s draft, as J’Mon Moore (4th round, 133rd overall), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (5th round, 174th overall) and Equanimeous St. Brown (6th, 207th overall) were all brought in to help solidify the receiver ranks.
Moore was non-existent for the team, as he is already resembling a bust after one season. He never really saw the field and became a player who seemingly was over drafted. Due to his poor combine numbers and lack of production even in the preseason, he never got his footing down and was always behind the eight ball in terms of catching up to NFL game speed.
Valdes-Scantling may have been Green Bay’s steal of the draft, as he came on out of nowhere for them and was eventually their number two receiver being Davante Adams. MVS has the breakaway speed for a burner that really helps open up the offense, and after losing Geronimo Allison to injury for the majority of the season, MVS was there to step in and make a name for himself. With Allison potentially out the door this offseason, MVS is the clubhouse leader for holding onto the no. 2 receiver role.
St. Brown came on later in the season but put together solid showings. He was able to demonstrate why he was such a highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, as his sticky hands hauled in many passes from Aaron Rodgers that not many receivers could. St. Brown looks like a solid three or four in the offense and fits well into new head coach Matt LaFleur’s scheme as a lanky speedster, similar to what Corey Davis provided the Titans when LaFleur ran their offense.
Even with those three in-house candidates, along with Pro Bowler Adams, there still is a need to find that final piece to plug into LaFleur’s offense. And while the likes of Hollywood Brown out of Oklahoma and D.K. Metcalf from Ole Miss would be good fits for this team, there is one receiver from a small school that would fit best.
The University of Massachusetts product has one of the higher grades going into the combine, but due to his small stature of 5-foot-9 and coming out of a small school, Isabella has the potential to drop right into Green Bay’s lap in the third or fourth round.
While smaller, he does not necessarily project only as a slot receiver. He can become what is taking the NFL by storm, a running back – wide receiver hybrid who can take carries out of the backfield, run routes from the backfield and be split out wide and challenge any cornerbacks or safeties in coverage. His fluid route running and athleticism would create instant mismatches against any linebackers lined up again him outside, and corners would have issues following him through his route tree too.
Isabella has been flying up draft boards as of late, and a team may want to reach for him as early as the second round, which is a bit high. However, if he is still on the board around the time that Green Bay’s selection in the third round comes up, they would be smart (provided there are no better prospects falling) to invest in Isabella and round out their receiving core.
Randall Cobb is potentially out the door this offseason as well, as his contract is up and may price himself out of Green Bay’s range. He was used in the backfield at times over his career and Isabella could fill that role from day one. While he would project more as a receiver due to the one-two punch of Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams in the backfield, Isabella could take a few snaps next to Rodgers in the shotgun.
Another aspect that Isabella could help with is motion plays and motion sweeps, as his speed and elusiveness would wreak havoc on the defense trying to cover him on the boundaries.
Isabella would be a valued addition into LaFleur’s offense and give Rodgers another weapon to bring this team back to the playoffs.
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23