On Friday, Hogs Haven published an in-depth look at 3rd round pick, Antonio Gibson, who told reporters, when asked about his position right after the draft, that he sees himself simply as a “weapon”. Well, if Antonio Gibson is a weapon, then Isaiah Wright looks like the backup weapon.
Gibson, when all is said and done, will go onto the roster as a running back wearing No. 24, while Wright will be a wider receiver wearing No. 83, but each is a big speedy offensive hybrid with abilities as a special teams returner.
According to the Redskins website, Gibson is 6’0”, 228 pounds; Wright is listed at 6’2”, 220 pounds. Because Wright was not at the Combine and had no Pro Day, I can’t find an official 40-time for him, but in looking for one, I found a website, NFL Draft Bible, that — in 2017, when he was just a sophomore — estimated his time at 4.49, and had this to say about Isaiah Wright:
This do-it-all player could easily be dubbed as an offensive weapon due to his versatility. Lining up in the wildcat, at running back, wide receiver, being used on end arounds/reverses or returning kicks on special teams. He brings a lot of the same elements to his game as Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) coming out, if you remember how he was used at Rutgers.
Shifty as heck in open space—he hits top speed in a hurry and is not easy to bring down. He was too talented to keep off the field as a true freshman and quickly became one of Matt Rhule’s favorites. Under new head coach Geoff Collins, he has evolved into the team’s leading receiver and top playmaker. Definitely a player that you want to try and create as many touches as possible due to his ability to bust loose for big chunks of yardage.
He is relatively unknown on the draft radar, however, with another two years of eligibility remaining, it’s only a matter of time until his performances are noticed on a mainstream level and it would not be surprising to see him earn a draftable grade by time 2020 rolls around.
In effect, Isaiah Wright was a weapon at Temple before Antonio Gibson made it cool.
Back in January, during the Shrine Bowl, Wright was the subject of a spotlight article, complete with embedded tweets, from the guys at Draft Network.
[I]n the realm of route running, there’s one type of move in particular that, every time a receiver pulls it off, it looks like one of the finest works of art you’ll find in the sport.
The double move.
The clean release, acceleration, hesitation and blow by; for a football fan, it’s poetry in motion. When you can hit a clean double move, you command everyone’s attention. And that’s why from the very first one-on-one drill of the week at the East/West Shrine Bowl, Temple’s Isaiah Wright has had everyone’s attention.
That was one of the cleanest hesitation/double moves I’ve seen in all my years of scouting Shrine practices. I knew Wright had been a four-year contributor for the Owls, and a guy who averaged more than 11 yards per catch throughout his career there.
It’s truly one of the best moves in the game. The set up, the hesitation and that moment where you can physical see the wide receiver about to snatch the soul out of a poor defensive back when he hits that hard cut. But the double move isn’t something you can just do every drive. You have to save it for the right time. It’s a process that begins before the ball is even snapped, and perfecting it takes recognition just as much as it does athleticism and precision. There’s an observation period needed before you know that this is the time to do it.
“So I’m looking to see leverage. Is [the defensive back] going to be inside or outside, and I’m looking to see where his eyes are,” Wright said. “Most of the time if his eyes are on you, you know there’s a high potential that it’s going to be man [coverage]. If his eyes are not on you, he’s playing a zone. That tells you which type of route you have to run to attack it.”
It’s a lot to learn. It takes hours in the film room and on the field, constant repetition and picking your spots to strike.
In scouting, we tend to prioritize traits. We ask what a player can do and how they win. Do they win with quick feet? Speed? Size? Good hands? There are plenty of ways to win, and for each position, the need for certain skills can differ.
But receivers demand the total package: quick feet, speed, size, jumping ability and good hands. For Wright, he’s certainly blessed with abilities in many categories, but to him the most important trait is something else, something that take time more than skill: patience. That’s the key to a good route runner, and unlocking the devastating double move.
“A lot of times with anything that’s a double move you want to get out because you’re trying to get open fast and that will mess your route up,” he said. “You just gotta tell yourself, ‘Be patient and sell the route.’ Being patient early helps you win the route later on.”
Wright is setting himself to win later on, but he’s doing plenty of winning right now, too.
So, at least two scouting sites were pretty glowing in their praise for Isaiah Wright; let’s see how he holds up to the scrutiny of the Hogs Haven film analysis team.
Today’s evaluator is Joshua Frye.
In this section, we’ll offer a look some film, with a brief look at style, skills and limitations of Isaiah Wright written by Joshua Frye, who has volunteered to help me with this series.
As a Skins fan, Joshua says that he grew up with a team that wasn’t winning on the field, and that this lack of success made him look for something other than Superbowls to keep him connected. He focused on the draft. So, even from a young age, Josh watched college football, doing his best to evaluate players, and he read extensively — books written by coaches and personnel evaluators. Josh says that he would love to become a professional scout someday.
Let’s see what Joshua thinks about Isaiah Wright.
Red Zone threat
Isaiah Wright isn’t quite as fast as fellow UDFA Johnathon Johnson, but he is bigger at 6’2, and you’ll definitely see he has some speed and quickness as we look at more of his tape. But here is a nice example of him working out of the slot on the right side. He is doing a good job at using his body and long arms to make a very nice 1 handed catch for a TD.
Wright is working out of the slot on the right side again here against Tulsa. He doesn’t waste any time working up field and he demonstrates some of his eye catching quickness, making two guys miss as he gets the 1st down and then some.
Versatility is the name of the game for undrafted free agents, and there is no shortage of versatility for Isaiah Wright. Here he lines up in the backfield and takes a hand off in pretty much a pile up in the backfield. He jump cuts the first defender deep in the back field, and then bullies his way past the line of scrimmage and just outruns that defense for a touchdown.
This time Isaiah Wright is lined up at QB in the wildcat. He does a good job at following his blocks to go untouched, flipping the field position to Temple’s favor.
So we’ve seen him play WR, RB, and QB in the wildcat. The only thing left is special teams. And he was used quite a bit on returns for Temple. As you can see he is an athlete in space. He probably runs somewhere around in the 4.4s but there is no wasted movements in his play.
How would he fit with the Redskins?
Honestly, out of all the undrafted free agents, Isaiah Wright is my favorite. His versatility alone, in my opinion, should find him a roster spot — and he’s not a small guy moving this quick either. He’s 6’2 and 220. The ‘Skins could develop him into either a WR or RB.
With the current roster, he could make for a lot of exciting packages on the field. Imagine the size and speed of a wildcat package with him and Gibson! Or the speed on the field with Wright, Gibson, Sims and McLaurin! That’d be very difficult for any defense to match up with.
Temple WR Isaiah Wright (@itz_onlywright) Highlights— JustBombsProductions (@JBP_Official) October 31, 2019
Wright is one of the best playmakers who doesn't get talked about enough. He can score from taking a handoff, catching passes & especially in the return game #TempleTUFF
Full Video : https://t.co/d3bormMHf6 pic.twitter.com/RiYX8HPvkK
As UDFA’s go, rate Isaiah Wright
This poll is closed
How good are the chances that Isaiah Wright is on the roster in 2020?
This poll is closed