49ers fans have had a rough 2016 season, and that’s putting it lightly. Entering the 2017 offseason, fans don’t even know who the team’s general manager or head coach will be.
Not yet, at least.
At the time of this writing, it appears that the front-runners for the HC and GM jobs are Kyle Shanahan (Atlanta Falcons) and Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers), respectively. While not knowing who will be at the helm certainly makes it hard to predict what direction the 49ers will take. Nonetheless, Niner Noise will still continue on with its offseason coverage of college prospects.
Sooner or later, the 49ers will need to address the wide receiver position. Whoever CEO Jed York selects to lead the new look 49ers is bound to upgrade the position either through the NFL Draft or through free agency or both.
Today, we present to you the scouting report on one Isaiah Ford, wide receiver out of Virginia Tech.
Isaiah Ford crosses the ever important six-foot barrier that divides the “short” receivers from the “adequate height” receivers. Still, Ford is not in the range of the larger receivers. He is also not on the heavier side of receivers either.
Nevertheless, from a physical standpoint, Ford possesses the requirements to play at the NFL level. As is the case every draft season, take these measurements with a grain of salt as they are subject to change.
The definitive measurements of course will be taken during the lead up to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Weight: 190 pounds
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Virginia Tech
Projected 40 Time: 4.53 (per Walter Football)
By The Numbers
Isaiah Ford has had an impressive career at Virginia Tech. As a Hokie, Ford has put up some tremendous numbers starting off with a strong freshman year. In his freshman year, Ford caught 56 catches for 706 yards and six touchdowns.
He followed this up with an outstanding sophomore campaign. One in which he set VT school records in receiving touchdowns and receiving yards. That year, Ford hauled in 11 touchdowns with 1,164 receiving yards on 75 receptions.
In 2016, Ford proved that his sophomore year was no fluke. He again crossed the 1,000-yard mark by posting 1,094 yards on 79 grabs for seven touchdowns.
In his Hokie career, Ford finished with a total of 2,967 yards, 210 catches, 24 touchdowns with a 14.1 yards-per-catch career average. He is the only Hokie receiver to have ever crossed the 1,000-yard mark and he did that twice.
Where he wins:
Isaiah Ford displayed good size and enough speed to challenge defenses deep. He does not seem to possess elite speed like New Orleans Saints WR Brandin Cooks, nor does he possess the size of a bigger WR like Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Mike Evans.
Be that as it may, Ford is not slow nor a small wideout.
Ford is fantastic at making contested catches and is often winning the 50/50 balls. Although, he is no Dez Bryant in this regard, Ford is still very good at the point of attack. Another excellent attribute is his burst off the line. This creates problems for defenders, and Ford knows this as well.
He adds to his game a whole host of body fakes, pauses and head bobs that keep defenders guessing wrong. This element combined with his acceleration often lead to Ford getting open deep.
Even when he did not get complete separation or if the ball was under thrown, Ford had the body control to adjust to the throw.
In fact, his body control is probably one of his most impressive strengths. While defenders are still locating the ball, Ford had already contorted and caught it. His other impressive trait is his quick feet which are easily elite-level quick.
Where he struggles:
On the negative side, Ford weighs less than 200 pounds. At the NFL level, he may end up getting pushed around especially against the larger press cornerbacks. Additionally, he makes way too many body catches. This has not resulted in many dropped passes but this is not a good attribute for NFL wideouts to have. NFL scouts will surely notice this and dock him for that bad habit.
It’s not that he has bad hands. On the contrary, Ford is very sure-handed. He simply has a bad habit of using his body in certain angles where he could just as easily use his hands.
Again, it has not resulted in increased dropped passes but it will be mentioned as a negative as the draft approaches.
Strengths: Good size and speed combo, reliable hands, productive receiver, excellent body control, elite feet, good selection of moves to cause separation.
Weaknesses: Could stand to add some weight and strength, needs to use his hands to make catches more often.
Niner Noise Projected Round: Early second- to late first-round grade.