Georgia wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie’s analysis by NFL scouts

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By Joe Vitale:

Georgia wide receiver and return specialist Isaiah McKenzie began his quest for an NFL opportunity last week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.

The Human Joystick performed very well by clocking a fast 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, tied for fifth among wideouts and finished 2nd in the 3-come drill with a time of 6.64 seconds. In the 20-yard shuffle, Isaiah finished 13th with a time of 4.15 seconds. 

In the jumps, he tied for 12th in the vertical jump with a leap of 36 inches and reached 123 inches in the broad jump, which was 22nd best among wideouts. 

The following are excerpts of McKenzie’s strengths and weaknesses as compiled by NFL.com. 

OVERVIEW

This Miami native is an electric receiver and return specialist. He’s been known best as a special teams demon, scoring six times on returns: five times on punts (two in 2014, two in 2015, one in 2016) and once on a kickoff (2014). The 5-foot-8, 175-pound playmaker has given scouts something to think about, as he proved to be a valuable offensive weapon as a junior. 

McKenzie led the Bulldogs in receptions (44), receiving yards (633) and receiving touchdowns (seven). Those numbers were well over his totals as a freshman (6-67) and sophomore (10-123).

STRENGTHS

Specialized in hitting big plays. Scored a touchdown every seventh time he touched the football on offense this season and averaged 11.9 yards per offensive touch over three years at Georgia. Angular, downhill running still bolsters his home run kick return ability. Able to get instant acceleration off the line as a receiver or with the ball in his hands. Slippery in tight quarters, but will elude and go rather than trying to get miss after miss. Has vertical speed to win over the top of nickel cornerbacks on deep routes. Offers gadget touch option for creative offensive minds.

WEAKNESSES

Diminutive frame. Arm tackles can end his run immediately. Has small hands and a minimal catch radius. Body catcher allows the ball to bang against his frame. Shows below average hand-eye coordination and overall concentration on deep throws. Contested catches are an issue for him. Routes lack sharpness expected from smaller, quicker wideout. Takes time to gather into his breaks and is slow to accelerate out of them. Able to uncover vertically much better than horizontally and struggles to uncover in short area. Production bolstered by jet sweeps and swing screens.

BOTTOM LINE

McKenzie’s big play production is impressive on paper, but once you get into the tape, it becomes apparent that much of what he is able to accomplish is due to mismatched speed in space and packaged plays tailored towards his strengths. As a receiver, he is below the mark of what teams will expect from their slots in terms of route-running, but his explosive return ability could land him work right away.

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