49ers Prospect Watch: Virginia Tech WR Isaiah Ford

Niner Noise provides 49ers fans with a scouting report on Virginia Tech wide receiver Isaiah Ford.  Ford has been a productive WR for the Hokies making him an ideal target to put up on the 49ers’ draft board come draft day.

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Nov 28, 2015; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Isaiah Ford (1) is unable to make the catch as Virginia Cavaliers cornerback Darious Latimore (39) in the second quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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Sep 3, 2016; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Isaiah Ford (1) catches a touchdown pass against Liberty Flames cornerback Chris Turner (39) during the first quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The Measurables

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.

Measurables:

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 190 pounds

Position: Wide Receiver

School: Virginia Tech

Year: Junior

Projected 40 Time:  4.53 (per Walter Football)

The measurements are taken from the VT’s sports site, Hokie Sports.

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Sep 24, 2016; Blacksburg, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Isaiah Ford (1) catches a touchdown pass against East Carolina Pirates defensive back Corey Seargent (5) during the second quarter at Lane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Stats were provided courtesy of Hokie Sports.

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Dec 29, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Isaiah Ford (1) tries to push off Arkansas Razorbacks defensive back Jared Collins (29) in the third quarter during the Belk Bowl at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Player Profile

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.

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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.

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Oct 27, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies wide receiver Isaiah Ford (1) celebrates with fans after defeating the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field. Virginia Tech won 39-36. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Deeper Dive

Isaiah Ford is a high-character guy. He is the type of player who is focused on being the best player that he can be. In an article published by The Roanoke Times, Ford was described to be more likely to “go run routes and go do things that make him better [as a player]” on the weekends versus going out according to Va Tech quarterback Brenden Motley.

In that same former VT offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler made a point to stress that Ford understands that he cannot only win with his agility. As a result, between his freshman and sophomore years, Ford hit the weight room and added 14 pounds to 174 pound body to bring him up to 188 pounds:

According to his former offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler, “I think, with another offseason, he can be special and he is special. But I think he can be really special.”

High School Days

Prior to coming to VT, Ford was a two-way athlete in high school playing both football and basketball. In fact, he planned on playing both sports at Virginia Tech before finally settling on football. As a senior in high school, he was averaging 30 points per game, per MaxPreps.

Earlier Childhood

Growing up, his two older brothers knew that he was going to be special. From an early age, they would punish him physically. For instance, they would make him play against them at football, basketball, etc. He would play wide receiver, and if he wanted to make the catch, he needed to get past his older brothers.

It resulted in a hard-nosed, competitive spirit. They never let up or took it easy on him. Eventually, the tables were turned and it was Ford who needed to dial it down.

You can read more about their story in article published by the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

You can also check out more scouting reports from our sister sites at NFL Mocks and With The First Pick below:

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And, of course, GO NINERS!!!

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