Saturday, April 30, Blue Raider cornerback Roderick Issac was selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round of the NFL Draft as the 147th overall pick.
Issac becomes the highest drafted Blue Raider since 2003 when wide receiver Tyrone Calico was taken in the second round.
In his career as a Blue Raider Issac started 37 games, recorded 189 tackles, forced four fumbles and intercepted five passes while deflecting 18.
It was the physical play of Issac that caught the attention of Jacksonville’s front office.
Terry McDonough, the Jaguars Director of Player Personnel, told jaguars.com’s Ryan Robinson, “We thought if he wasn’t the most physical corner in the draft, he was one of the most physical.”
Issac, who was not invited to the NFL Combine, will set out to prove to critics that he deserved to be drafted after ESPN.com ranked him as a “Free Agent Prospect.”
“I say everything happens for a reason,” Issac told jaguars.com. “I didn’t go to the combine and I was still able to get drafted so I just look at that as a blessing.”
Blue Raider coach Rick Stockstill was very proud of his player for the strides he had taken to put himself in the position to be selected in the draft.
“He was a really, really good football player for us,” Stockstill said. “He’s a very physical player. He’s a good tackler, which I think impressed the Jaguars. He’s an excellent corner and I think he’s got a great future in the NFL.”
Despite being drafted on day three, Issac looks to contribute early on for Jacksonville.
The team lacks depth at corner and it was listed as one of the Jaguars biggest needs heading in.
With the Jacksonville’s last pick coming in the fifth round they chose Issac as the player to fill that void.
“He has size, he has speed, he’s a great kid, he’s tough, he’s an excellent tackler, he can run, he can play press and off,” McDonough told jaguars.com. “He’ll come in and he’ll play for us this year.”
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio echoed McDonough’s sentiments in an interview with NFL Network.
“In playing teams that use a lot of three-wide sets, (Issac) will give us another corner to help slow those people down,” Del Rio said.”
Issac will join a pass defense that ranked 28 last season, allowing just more than 250 yards per game in the air, 371 overall, and more than 26 points per game.
However, it could be a while before Issac officially joins his new team. The NFL is currently in the middle of a lockout between players and coaches that will very likely push any kind of rookie camps back and could stretch into the NFL training camps and even put the 2011 NFL season at risk.
The longer the lockout lasts, the harder it will be for Issac to come and contribute on defense as he will need time to learn his new team’s system and develop chemistry.
“Most football players from a young age dream of playing in the NFL,” Stockstill said. “I know that was a goal and a dream of Rod’s.
“There’s a sense of pride and happiness for him, because I know how happy he was to be able to realize one of his dreams.”