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Once the ball is in the hands of Florida WR Kadarius Toney, blink at your own risk. Toney is arguably the best player in all of college football after the catch and because of it, there is plenty of upside for him at the NFL level. There are some concerns with Toney, however, which makes him a very interesting player heading into this year’s NFL draft.
Kadarius Toney had a big 2020 season
Despite playing in a shortened season in 2020, Toney played 11 games, his second-most in a season during his tenure at Florida. He caught 70 balls for 984 yards and a whopping 10 touchdowns, which is an area he really broke out, as he scored two receiving touchdowns in his first three years. The Gators used him as more of a gadget player during his first three seasons until he became a true wideout in his senior season. Toney also missed plenty of time with injuries, which could be a concern going forward. But when he was on the field and in a large enough role, Toney was a very productive player.
Strengths: Kadarius Toney is an after-the-catch monster
- YAC monster
- Fantastic acceleration
- Strong hands
- Truly dynamic playmaker
We led this discussion hinting toward Toney’s fantastic after-- catch ability, so let’s start there. Toney averaged nearly seven yards after the catch per reception last year and was really difficult to bring down in the open field. According to PFF, Toney forced 20 missed tackles, the fifth-most of any college receiver. And he doesn’t just juke you out or run around you, but Toney can run through you, as he looks like a running back once he gets the ball in his hands. He looks a lot like San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel once the ball is in his hands, and Samuel is one of the five best YAC receivers in the NFL right now. Toney is very shifty and was a tough assignment for opposing defenders last season, especially considering he lined up out of the slot nearly 83% of the time in 2020. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Toney projects as a player who will primarily play in the slot, which means he’ll more than likely generate plenty of separation. This play demonstrates his two best strengths perfectly and it was legitimately one of the best highlights from any player I’ve seen from this upcoming class.
He showcases his creativity in his routes by absolutely breaking the defender’s ankles and then breaks three or four tackles before taking it to the house. That is the type of dynamic playmaking ability that Toney has, while he is also someone that can and will contribute on special teams, as he posted nearly 300 special teams yards and a touchdown in his final season at Florida. You can also see his great acceleration and if anyone were to ask me what kind of player Toney is, I’d honestly just show them this play. Toney also has strong hands, as he catches away from his body more often than not. He’s dropped just three passes in his collegiate career and simply knows how to catch the football, which I understand is an important trait for wide receivers.
Weaknesses: Kadarius Toney has battled injuries
- Missed time with injury during first three seasons
- Not the cleanest route-runner
Toney missed meaningful time during his first three seasons at Florida due to injury, which is a concern for a lot of people given his frame. And because he is a player who often initiates contact as a runner, there is some concern of whether he’ll be able to hold up. However, that is more of a guessing game and predicting injury certainly isn’t something we should look to do. From a film breakdown, Toney is a solid route-runner but certainly not the most polished in this class. A lot of his routes are almost freestyle and at the next level, I’m not entirely sure how often they will work. I’d like to see him become a more defined route-runner at the NFL level and although he’ll make some plays on his own with his shiftiness, Toney would be more consistent if he becomes a more polished route-runner.
Kadarius Toney could make sense in Green Bay
Toney could sneak into the end of the first round of this year’s draft, but he’ll probably come off the board somewhere in the second. Again, the Green Bay Packers desperately need an explosive playmaker who can make a difference after the catch, and Toney would certainly fit really well there. I could also see the Chicago Bears being a potential landing spot, though they will likely need more of a traditional No. 1 receiver with Allen Robinson likely headed elsewhere this offseason. Finally, the Tennessee Titans are right behind the Bears in the second round and if Toney falls to them, don’t be surprised if they add him to the team. Corey Davis is a free agent, and we know this Titans offense is predicated off play-action passing and letting A.J. Brown and company make plays after the catch.