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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: WR Kadarius Toney

  • The Draft Network
  • December 25, 2020
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PROSPECT SUMMARY

A two-sport athlete competing in track and football, Kadarius Toney played quarterback during his final two seasons at Blount High School (Alabama). As a junior, he threw for 3,604 yards, while rushing for another 896 yards, while scoring a combined 53 touchdowns The totals propelled him to becoming a Class 6A second-team all-state selection. During his final season, Toney worked his way to 2,894 passing yards, totaling 894 rushing yards and 47 total touchdowns. He finished his career with a 20-5 overall record and being named as the 2016 Class 6A Back of the Year, as well as being named an all-state selection for the second consecutive year. After some believed he was leaning toward signing with Alabama, Toney opted to sign with Florida. As a true freshman, he was labeled as an athlete, but the experiment there only lasted through training camp as he was moved back and forth between running back and receiver. Playing in eight games during his first season, he battled nagging shoulder and shin injuries that kept him out of three games. 

Toney is an electric slot receiver who’s continued to improve every season in Gainesville. He is much more satisfying than his size indicates because he’s electric with or without the ball in his grasp. His ceiling as a route-runner is a bit limited, but he was highly effective with the package that he was asked to run. Toney’s presence is always felt whether or not he has the ball, as he makes defenses account for him even if he’s strictly a motion player.

Ideal Role: Starting wide receiver that can be used at multiple positions, but while at wideout, a bulk of his reps will come in the slot.

Scheme Fit: WR3 in a vertically attacking scheme. 

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Jordan Reid

Games watched: Georgia (2020), Kentucky (2020), Vanderbilt (2020), Missouri (2020)

Best Game Studied: Vanderbilt (2020), Missouri (2020)

Worst Game Studied: Georgia (2020)

Route Running: Throughout his career, Toney has steadily improved as a route-runner. His biggest leap came during the 2020 season, as he was able to develop and unlock another level of comfort as he continued to gain more exposure with running certain routes. His patterns were still condensed to a certain number of types, but he nearly perfected those that he was asked to run within the scheme.

Hands: Possessing above-average hands, Toney has a smaller frame but he’s able to snare the ball out of the air outside of it. In contested situations, he’s shown inconsistencies while having other bodies around him, but against zone coverage, Toney has flourished by finding the soft spots and punching bigger holes in the coverage with his feel for those areas. 

Separation: One of Toney’s better components is how much of a natural he is at creating separation. Containing extremely quick-twitch movements combined with over-exaggerating head and arm fakes within his routes, he keeps the opposition guessing about where he wants to go. With sudden change of direction skills and ankle-breaking tendencies, Toney makes life difficult for defenders to stay attached to him in man-to-man coverage.

Release Package: Teams were hesitant with pressing Toney because of the respect for his right-now speed and suddenness. His best releases come on the second level as he incorporates basketball-like crossovers into his repertoire to use against matchups. This tactic helps keep the opposition off balance as well as sell a false sense of direction where he’s not actually headed. Still needing to get stronger at the line of scrimmage, he’s had previous trouble with gaining clean releases, maintaining his balance, and then proceeding into his patterns.  

Run After Catch: As a return specialist, Toney’s instincts in a similar fashion are utilized in this area. When the ball is in his possession, he forces defenses to rally to the ball and tackle, as he’s known as a highlight creator. His eyes light up when faced with one-on-one matchups, as he has the body control and moves necessary in order to make tacklers look silly. A master creator in space, Toney’s compact build is glorified when defenders throw their bodies at him in hopes of slowing him down.

Ball Skills: Another area that he’s evolved in is his ability to have proper hand-eye connection in order to come down with passes. Toney has the range outside of his frame in order to gain the trust of throwers. A bulk of Toney’s damage comes in the short-to-intermediate areas, as he’s a player that play-callers want to get involved early and often. 

Football IQ: Playing multiple positions in the Gators' scheme, he has experienced playing time at various different spots. As a route-runner, Toney’s smarts are noticeable, as he has a high understanding of leverage and proper angles to take when generating releases. He incorporates lots of stutter steps and lower-half moves to sell locations that he initially attacks. In reality, he wants to go to those areas, but he’s created another lane for future routes.

Versatility: Playing multiple positions in the Gators' scheme, he has experienced playing time at various different spots. His versatility has shined during each season, as he has a game that stretches well beyond those boundaries. As an ultimate chess piece, Toney can be used as a decoy to open things up for his counterpart.

Competitive Toughness: Seeing it mostly as a run blocker, Toney enjoys mixing it up when in the slot or even the box. Because of his frame and limited strength as a blocker, he’s not very effective on sustained attempts. Toney will be moved out of the way on many attempts as he doesn't have the body density to sustain and have success while blocking for the run.

Big-Play Ability: Explosive-play dynamics is exactly the type of trait that he brings to the table from Day 1. The trait that stands out above all with Toney is his “make you miss” ability combined with his confidence of getting to the end zone. Although he has the quickness to race past defenders, Toney hasn’t proven to be a consistent down-the-field threat with multiple ways to win.

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: 83.38 / 100

Kyle Crabbs: 82.50/100

Joe Marino: 83.00/100

Jordan Reid: 84.00/100

Drae Harris: 84.00/100

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