First things first Go Gators. I’m glad we got that out of the way. Secondly, Kadarius Toney has some serious potential to be a unique playmaker in the NFL, and we’re going to look at exactly why that is. I remember his first season in a Gator uniform very well, a frustrating player to watch at times. He always tried to do too much, wanted to bounce around all over the field looking for a gap and score a touchdown on every play. Toney ended up losing yardage or risking a fumble on a few occasions, but as his time with the Gators went on, he got better and better, and learned how to utilise those skills more effectively, and this past season, he was incredible.
We’ll get into the crazy highlight reel, but it’s important to highlight the extreme leap in his productivity in 2020 first. Going into the season he might have been a 3rd round pick, or likely an early day 3 selection, and the rumour was that the Gators would regress as the whole receiving core left for the NFL. Van Jefferson, Freddy Swain, Tyrie Cleveland and Josh Hammond all made the jump to the next level, and our rivals couldn’t wait to play us all of a sudden. Then up stepped Kyle Pitts and Kadarius Toney. There’s a reason that one, if not both, are certified first round picks.
Did I teach him everything he knows? You could make a case for it, of course. I had the pleasure of meeting him outside the Swamp before a Gator game a couple of years ago. Naturally he asked us for some tips, and now he’s a potential first round pick. The Undrafted effect I call it…
Kadarius Toney – WR Florida
Kadarius Toney is originally from Mobile, Alabama, right on the doorstep of the Crimson Tide. In High School he was a dual threat quarterback, and earned himself a three star rating amongst recruiters. Toney received scholarship offers from Alabama, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, and South Alabama. His decision came down to the two SEC powerhouses, and of course he landed with the Gators over Nick Saban and the Tide. Toney wasn’t recruited as a QB, rather an ‘Athlete’. What that means is that he’s being offered a scholarship, but not to play his high school position. His athleticism and dynamic run style earned him his offers, which is something the Florida Gators would harness into a very talented wide receiver prospect.
The Gators moved him around early on, figuring out where he might fit in order to bring out as much of his talent as possible. As a freshman he started in only two games, one as a receiver, and one as a running back. Toney would also throw occasionally, offering a wildcat formation QB option, completing a 50 yard pass on one occasion to Tyrie Cleveland.
His production only grew as he matured a Gator. The statistics speak for themselves, as Dan Mullen and the coaches trusted him more and more with the ball in his hands, but the leap in 2020 is on another level. Like I said, the receivers ahead of him on the depth chart moved on to the NFL, and Toney stepped up when he had to. After missing time in 2019 with an injury, Kadarius Toney totalled 10 touchdowns and over 1000 all purpose yards on the season.
Interesting to note, Toney had 120 career receptions at Florida. He also had 66 rushing attempts. That’s over 33% of his contributions coming from hand offs or wildcat situations in the backfield. I knew he did a lot of this type of thing, but that’s a high number. Kadarius Toney is not just a wide receiver. When you think about the kind of offences NFL teams run, and how they utilise motion plays in the backfield, screens, wildcat formations and receivers that can throw the ball… why wouldn’t you want a Toney type player on your roster? We’re seeing it more and more, Jarvis Landry hurling touchdowns. Toney can do that. The Chiefs running plays where Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman will pick the ball up in the backfield… Toney can do that too. Countless screens, and good luck tackling him one on one in those situations. He’s an asset to the modern game in the NFL.
KT is listed at 6″0, 190 pounds. He’s a slot receiver in the NFL. His dynamic play style will be a headache for a nickel corner trying to cover him man to man. Speed is not an issue for him, and if you give him any room, or get the ball to him in a few yards of space, he’ll juke your whole defence out of their shoes. I promise you, you haven’t seen anybody who can juke or cut on a dime, quite like KT. He’s nicknamed the human joystick for a reason.
Watch the first play in that highlight video before you read on… Look at everything he offered on the play. Three yards of separation with a cut on his route, now in space over the middle of the field. Picks up the ball and turns on the jets, north and south. Something he’s been coached into. In 2018, he wouldn’t have scored on this play, but now, in 2020, sporting the 1 jersey only given to Gators who earn it, he runs north and south with tremendous speed and straight through the middle of the entire South Carolina secondary.
The following play is just as impressive. How he scores I’m still not really sure. His cuts, spins, jukes, turns are unbelievable. He was something else to watch in 2020 and I really can’t stress enough how drastically he improved coming into last season. It’s a huge step for him, and without him the Gators offence wouldn’t have been nearly as efficient this past year. He was the second best option for Kyle Trask, behind Kyle Pitts, who is of course, not human.
I love Toney’s ceiling. I’ve watched him for three seasons, if he can continue on the trajectory he’s on, he has Tyreek Hill potential. Look at everything he can do. I’ve not even mentioned his speed yet. He ran a 4.39 unofficial time at Florida’s pro day a couple of weeks ago, and ran very comfortably in his routes. I talked about him a little here as I broke down the Florida Pro Day. His speed combined with those unbelievable cuts make for an NFL talent who’s going to drag you off the sofa and onto your feet every time he picks the ball up. He has that rare ability to score on every play. Jaylen Waddle is a similar player who will also earn his money in the slot in the pros, but don’t be surprised if KT lands with a team who utilises his whole arsenal of skills, and wreaks havoc with him early on. I cannot wait to see what he can do.
I can see it now, Kadarius Toney, hurtling for touchdowns after picking up the ball in the backfield, or weaving his way through the defence having caught a 5 yard slant, or taking a fake screen, pausing, setting his feet, and launching a 50 yard dot the D never saw coming. He really is one of the most electric talents in this years draft, and if your team selects him, i’d be extremely happy about it. So where would he fit best in the NFL?
I’ve said this before and I am going to stick with it. I love him for the Packers. They cost themselves this season by not taking a true wide receiver threat to take some of the heat off of Davante Adams, who was still unbelievable. But when he’s doubled on every play, it can get a little tough once you hit the playoffs. What the Packers need is a touchdown threat on the inside, who can distract you. If you’re not distracted enough to pay attention to Toney, he’ll score on you. I think he’d be a perfect fit with the 30 pick, which is absolutely not a reach, to go up to Green Bay, play number 2 to Adams, and change the way defences have to think about defending Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. If Toney isn’t taken on day one, I see him going in the first 10 picks on day two. Teams are very unlikely to let him sit there and go by them.
I’d also see him fitting in as the replacement for Curtis Samuel with the Panthers, if they can get him in the second round, or if the Giants were to go another direction in the first round, Toney on day two would also be a great fit there.
I’m extremely excited to see where he might land, of course, I haven’t mentioned my Dolphins, but you best believe i’m over the moon about that possibility too. Any Gator turned Dolphin is understandably a dream for me.
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