Why Andy Isabella makes more sense for Patriots than Hunter Renfrow

Ryan Hannable
March 06, 2019 - 2:51 pm

There’s little doubt the Patriots will select a wide receiver in the 2019 NFL draft. With 12 picks overall, and only one 2018 active roster receiver under contract for 2019 (Julian Edelman), it only makes sense.

At the combine, two of the names most connected to the Patriots were UMass’ Andy Isabella and Clemson’s Hunter Renfrow.

Isabella, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, had just over 1,000 yards receiving a as a junior, but really broke out as a senior. Last fall, he finished with 102 receptions for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. At UMass, he mostly played on the outside.

Meanwhile, Renfrow, who is also listed at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds, didn’t have the same numbers as Isabella, but part of that is he had more talent around him. Over his four years at Clemson, he finished with 186 receptions for 2,133 yards and 15 touchdowns. Unlike Isabella, Renfrow played most of his snaps out of the slot.

While both players would work for the Patriots, Isabella makes more sense, and it isn’t just because he has better overall numbers.

Isabella has been working hard at making himself more than just an outside receiver with the help of a former Patriot great, Randy Moss. The two have worked out a good amount part of the pre-draft process.

“It was tough to start off,” Isabella said at the NFL combine of working out of the slot. “It was different because I’m used to opening up and running downfield. Now you had to be precise in the slot and get your head around quicker and be on time with the quarterback. I feel like I picked it up and had a good Senior Bowl game.”

On the other hand, Renfrow is strictly a slot receiver. This doesn’t mean he won’t be selected or have a good NFL career, it just seems like Isabella is a better fit for the Patriots because he can play both inside and outside. It’s also worth noting the Patriots already have a young slot receiver in Braxton Berrios, who spent his rookie season on injured reserve.

Renfrow did acknowledge how much he looks up to the Patriots and how they use their slot receivers.

“I’ll go wherever they pay me to go, but the Patriots would be cool,” he said at the combine. “Playing with a guy like Tom Brady, that would be incredible. He’s one of the greatest players ever to play the game. That would be special. Playing with a guy like Tom Brady and under and beside a guy like Julian Edelman, who can kind of teach you the nuances of the position, I think would be a big advantage for me.”

Heading into the combine both players were projected to be mid-round picks, but Isabella ran the second-fastest 40-time of receivers at 4.31 seconds, which could have him become a Day 2 selection.

While both would be solid selections, Isabella may make just a little more sense for the Patriots because of his speed and versatility.

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