The Giants added Kadarius Toney to their stable of playmakers with the 20th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. He is a unique player and offensive weapon who can be used in a variety of ways and at different positions to help the offense.
Toney was a high school quarterback and recruited to Florida to play that position, but was listed as an athlete on the Gators' roster all four years he was there. He transitioned to a full-time wide receiver, and thrived as a senior, finishing with 984 receiving yards and 10 receiving touchdowns (eighth in the nation). PFF tracked him with only three career drops on 123 career passes.
According to Pro Football Focus, in his four years at Florida, Toney played 32 snaps in the backfield, 8 in-line, 674 in the slot, and 338 outside. He can be lined up all over the formation to take advantage of matchups with his speed in space or to win over the top.
According to PFF, Toney had the 11th-most yards after the catch in the country, finishing with 477 in his senior season. He was also tied with the 15th-most yards after contact on receptions with 191. His 20 forced missed tackles after a reception was the sixth-most in college football. His 20 forced missed tackles after the catch was the sixth-most. He can also beat opponents with his speed, quickness and is even willing to run through defenders.
Those numbers should not be a surprise when you look at his Relative Athletic Score, which compiles a player's athletic testing and size compares it to players historically at the same position.
His overall testing put him in the 90th percentile of receivers, with especially good numbers in the jumping tests (which measure explosiveness), speed tests, and agility drills. He checks every box as an athlete, which is why he was able to compile 27 receptions of 15 or more yards as senior, which was tied for the sixth-most in college football.
Toney's ability to turn a short catch into a big play is what sets him apart from the other wide receivers on the roster. He can do that from the backfield, in the slot, outside, or as a motion player. He can spell any of the receivers in the roster if they are hurt or need to be rotated out. Toney is at his best with the ball in his hands, however his team gets it to him.
In his post-draft press conference, Toney mentioned Alvin Kamara as a player comparison. Rarely does a wide receiver mention a running back as a player comparison, but Kamara makes sense. Toney averaged nearly nine yards per carry on 66 rushes at Florida. According to PFF, he forced seven missed tackles on only 19 carries as a senior.
Toney also took advantage of his past success as a high school quarterback, completing 3-of-6 passes for 82 yards and a touchdown as a senior. He said he uses his history as a quarterback to better understand the offense as a receiver. He told Bob Papa in an interview after he was selected that he could throw a ball 60 yards from a knee, which could make him a valuable piece as a gadget player.
Toney was also an All-SEC kick and punt returner in his senior season. He returned 11 punts for 139 yards and a touchdown and 21 kicks for 324 yards. He is a tough and relentless player who seems to embrace the physical parts of the game.
So where does Toney fit into the Giants' roster? Everywhere. Just get him the ball and let him go.
*Credit to Dane Brugler draft guide "The Beast" for Toney's background information.
View photos of the 20th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.