The Arizona Cardinals have done a tremendous job this offseason of revamping their offense in an attempt to make last season’s paltry offensive output seem like a distant memory.
Yes, they added Coach Kliff Kingsbury and drafted quarterback Kyler Murray first overall, but it goes even further than that. The team has made numerous moves along the offensive line and drafted three young wide receivers that they believe can come in and make a difference from day one.
So out of all the players on offense, who figures to be the “X-Factor” for the team moving forward and a good indicator of how well the unit as a whole will perform? For me, that guy is Andy Isabella.
Isabella was the second of two second-round draft picks for the Arizona Cardinals last month. Essentially, he was the guy they got for trading Josh Rosen to the Miami Dolphins. And with Isabella, the Cardinals got a guy that is an absolute difference maker on the field.
In college at the University of Massachusetts, he led the FBS with 141.5 receiving yards per game and finished his senior season with 1,698 receiving yards overall with an outstanding 16.7 yards per catch. At the NFL Combine, Isabella ran a 4.31 40-yard dash. The guy is lightning quick, to say the least.
But plenty of guys bring speed to their game. And the Cardinals have had plenty of those guys on their roster that have not made a significant impact on the offense as a whole. I expect Isabella to be different.
First, Isabella doesn’t simply run vertical routes down the field with his speed. He can play in the slot or outside and can run the entire route tree. With his good route running and incredible speed, he is going to be able to create a ton of mismatches against the defense for big plays. Big plays, as all Cardinals fans know, were few and far between in 2018.
Over time, I see Isabella and Kyler Murray developing a strong connection on the field (and hopefully off of it, too). Isabella is very similar to Murray’s college teammate Hollywood Brown and if he is putting up solid numbers, that is going to open up a ton of room for the likes of David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, which means the offense as a whole should be a far cry from what we saw under Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich.
Who is your X-Factor for the Arizona Cardinals offense in Coach Kingsbury’s rookie campaign? Let us know in the comments below.