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kadarius toney breakout player
New York Giants

Why Kadarius Toney is Poised to Breakout for Giants

  • Jack McKessy
  • June 21, 2022
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When it comes to potential breakout players for the New York Giants, there’s a strong case to be made—and certainly a hope within the organization—that it’s quarterback Daniel Jones. However, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding his play given his struggles to stay on the field as well as a turnover issue he hasn’t been able to shake. Instead, it’s second-year wide receiver Kadarius Toney who is in the best position for his breakout season in 2022.

New York’s first-round pick in 2021 showed flashes of some serious talent in his first year as a pro with his best showing coming against the Cowboys in Week 5. Toney put All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs on skates several times in that game, using his speed and agility to create separation off the line of scrimmage. Once the ball was in his hands, he continued to make defenders miss to create extra yardage all game.

As impressive as his performance in Dallas was, it was quickly overshadowed by Toney’s ejection at the end of the game for throwing a punch at a Cowboys defender. It gave him a hothead label that made some concerned about a long-term future in New York. That concern only grew when he never saw as many targets or recorded as many receptions for the rest of his rookie year. His 189 yards in Dallas remained his season (and career) high, and he remained without a score for the entirety of his first season.

One likely scapegoat for Toney’s relative lack of output before and after that game in Dallas was his absence from seven games last year thanks to several injuries. He missed one game with a sprained ankle, a few more games with injuries to his quad and oblique, then missed the season finale with a shoulder injury. Toney’s been limited so far this offseason after getting a minor knee procedure done in May, though he should be back and ready for a full season come training camp.

Another big reason for poorer production could be bad coaching and worse quarterback play. The Giants’ former offensive coordinator, Jason Garrett, oversaw one of the least creative offenses in the NFL last year. With that lack of creativity came a lack of success, and the team didn’t improve when New York had to resort to backups Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm, who were abysmal in relief of the injured Jones.

As far as the concerns about his future in New York, especially the trade rumors about him that circulated earlier this offseason, nothing has come of them. Toney’s still with the team with the expectation he’ll be a contributor in 2022.

This year, it looks like Toney will be set up for far more success assuming he stays healthy. The Giants have a new, offensive-minded head coach in Brian Daboll who will be looking to get the most out of his quarterback in Jones’ fourth season. That should include getting talented, young receivers like Toney going in a new (hopefully more creative) offense.

Toney’s stuff is electric. From his good hands, natural separation with speed and good route-running to his strong ball skills and stellar run-after-catch ability, the second-year receiver has all of the tools to be a dangerous big-play threat. Given his speed and athleticism, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Giants use him in a variety of looks, potentially on jet sweeps or short crossers from the slot just to get the ball in his hands and let him work.

There’s no question that Toney has all of the potential and skills he needs to be a successful receiver at the NFL level. We saw only a small glimpse of it in one game last season, but that glimpse spoke volumes. The big question is really just how much of that the Giants will get out of him with Jones under center and in a new offense. Daboll’s plan for that offense alongside his offensive coordinator, Mike Kafka, is already promising given the success both of them had in their previous coaching stops. Jones is a question mark, but he’s one that should be answered by season’s end.

After what Toney showed us in flashes during his rookie year, a breakout season is on the horizon for him in 2022. It’s up to New York to maximize all of his potential.

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Jack McKessy