Northern Iowa’s Isaiah Weston is an absolute specimen. One of the most athletic overall wide receiver prospects available in the 2022 NFL Draft, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Weston ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.42 seconds at the NFL Scouting Combine. Weston also leaped an eye-popping 40-inch vertical and 135-inch broad jump.
An all-around athlete that consistently stretched the field and challenged defenses vertically in Northern Iowa’s passing game, Weston possesses an extremely high ceiling and should intrigue NFL teams in the middle rounds. Weston averaged an astounding 23.9 yards per reception in 2021.
Weston recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network regarding his staggering athletic profile, his favorite routes to run, how he uses his size and speed to defeat cornerbacks in coverage, which teams have shown interest in him throughout the pre-draft process, and so much more.
JM: How do you look back on your career at Northern Iowa? What a ride it was.
IW: My career definitely had its ups and downs just like any other college player. It was a long career and I’m extremely thankful for my time at Northern Iowa. I look back on it with a smile because I know I did everything I could for that team. I really don’t have a single regret when I reflect on my collegiate career. I strung together some great seasons. I really enjoyed my time at UNI overall.
JM: You’ve done your draft stock a bunch of favors throughout this process. You ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds at the combine, which you were blessed to receive a well-deserved invite to as an FCS prospect. You also had incredible results in the vertical (40 inches) and broad (135 inches) jumps. Have you received an uptick in the attention you’ve received since then?
IW: It depends. I haven’t noticed much more attention from social media or anything like that. I still think I’m being slept on. I get a few shout-outs on Twitter here and there. My parents watch ESPN consistently and they go crazy every time my name gets mentioned during one of their pre-draft programs (laughs). I’m not blowing up on social media or anything like that. A few people have come out of the woodwork to congratulate me and wish me luck. It’s been a normal process for me.
In regards to NFL teams, I’m definitely being viewed as a legitimate draft selection. The combine performance definitely boosted my stock in that regard. I’ve probably climbed up a few draft boards since then. I’ve been interviewing with teams on a consistent basis, at least every week since then. I’ve definitely captured the attention of all 32 teams in the NFL.
JM: That attention you’re receiving is well deserved. You averaged an incredible 23.9 yards per reception in 2021. You threaten to win vertically. You had several receptions that went for 60 yards or greater this past season. What is it about your game that allowed you to create so many big plays?
IW: I would definitely credit my speed and attention to detail while trying to get behind defenders vertically. My ability to stretch the field and make big plays in the passing game certainly sticks out in this draft class. I’ve always wanted to be a playmaker for my team. I proved it in high school as well.
I believe I averaged 22 yards per catch throughout my high school career. I was in the same range at Northern Iowa. Last season, I averaged 23.9 yards per reception as you mentioned. Using my speed to stretch the field is my bread and butter. I’m always trying to do everything I can to get past the secondary.
JM: It pops on tape. What are some of the ways you can use your size and speed as an advantage at the catch point?
IW: I definitely use my vertical leaping ability to go up and attack the football at its highest point. I love high-pointing the ball. I use my size to my advantage in coverage. I love being physical with opposing cornerbacks. They struggle to match my size and physicality. I can go over defenders, or through them when catching the ball. I could generate a pass interference call deep down the field. I definitely have a lot of natural tools and abilities to work with.
JM: You absolutely do. Sticking with this topic, do you have a favorite route to run?
IW: I would definitely single out the post route. I also love a good go ball. Send me deep and let my size and speed take care of the rest.
JM: You’ve aced this pre-draft process, but some analysts will still call you a “small school prospect.” How do you typically respond to that label?
IW: I don’t deny the fact that I come from a small school in Northern Iowa. I know we didn’t play against the biggest and baddest programs around the nation consistently on a weekly basis. With that said, I feel great about making the transition to the NFL. I think it’s going to be a smooth transition for me. I know how to respond to adversity and I love being coached.
I welcome the competition aspect of things. I understand how to adjust when things aren’t going our way. I love playing in tightly contested games. I will adjust to the situation around me and pull through. I don’t see it as a huge transition for me. I feel like I’ll adjust as well as the next guy can.
JM: That’s the right way to handle that question. Have you met with any teams virtually or made any in-person Top 30 visits, and do you have any more of those coming up?
IW: I’ve had Zoom calls with the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers, to name a few. We’ve talked about football. They wanted to get to know me more as a man and as a person. They tested my knowledge of the game and wanted to see how quickly I could pick up their concepts. We’re swiftly approaching the draft and I’m excited to find out what comes next.
JM: We’re so excited for you. I’ve appreciated your time today. Why should a team use one of their draft picks on Isaiah Weston?
IW: I’m a playmaker at the end of the day. That comes first and foremost. I’m going to put my body on the line for whichever team drafts me. I’m going to apply my mind and put my best foot forward. I’m excited to do whatever I can to help the team win football games. I want to help put us in a great position.
I’m going to help stretch the field in the passing game. I’ll do both the little things, and the big things. I’m going to be a great teammate. I’ll go out there and block in the running game. Off the field, I’m a low-maintenance kind of guy.
You don’t need to worry about me not following the rules and boundaries. I’m a quick learner and I respect the organization. You’ll never have to worry about me. You’re getting the full package from a player and character perspective when you draft Isaiah Weston.