Kadarius Toney Draft Prospect Profile and Scouting Report

Florida Wide Receiver Kadarius Toney is profiled in advance of the 2021 NFL Draft.

 

Name: Kadarius Toney

School: Florida

Class: Senior

Position: Wide Receiver

Height: 6-0                         

Weight: 180

STATS:

 

 

General Info:

Kadarius Toney was born in Mobile, Alabama and attended Blount High School in Eight Mile (Alabama), where he was a two-sport athlete, competing in football and track. Toney played as a dual-threat quarterback in his final two years at Blount. As a junior he threw for 3,604 yards, rushed for 896 yards and scored a combined 53 touchdowns. The following year he threw for 2,894 yards, rushed for 894 yards and scored 47 total touchdowns. He was named an all-state selection his junior and senior year and, in the latter, was named the Class 6A Back of The Year.

He received multiple offers in the SEC including in-state with Auburn and Alabama, as well as others from South Carolina and Ole Miss however, he opted to become a Gator at the University of Florida.

Toney struggled to impose himself in his freshman year, initially being designated as an athlete and subsequently having an inconsistent role on the Florida offense. He had limited playing time as a running back, receiver and a wildcat quarterback.  As a receiver he managed a paltry 15 catches for 152 yards and 0 touchdowns.

His sophomore year saw minor improvements in playing time and production, Toney played in 12 games and had 25 catches for 260 yards and 1 touchdown, he also rushed for 240 yards and no touchdowns. His 2019 season started better, with 66 yards and a touchdown against Miami (FL) but an injury in this game set Toney back again. He would only make 13 more catches for a total of 128 yards over the rest of the season.

It is entirely plausible this lack of production was a result of other factors: 2018 saw the hiring of new head coach Dan Mullen after Jim McElwain was fired in 2017 and Florida’s offense was plagued by inconsistency at the quarterback position which would eventually be remedied by replacing Feleipe Franks with Kyle Trask in 2019.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Toney had a breakout year in 2020, leading the team in receiving with 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished the season 9th in the SEC with an average of 122.8 yards per game and formed a formidable offense with Trevon Grimes and Kyle Pitts who become the only trio in college football to have eight touchdown receptions each.

 

Positional Skills

Strengths:

For a guy who has only really spent one year as a full-time receiver, he has an absolute boatload of upside and an extraordinarily high ceiling at the position. He has also contributed significantly on special teams.

Often referred to as the “Human Joystick”, the main attributes which instantly jump off the tape are otherworldly explosiveness and fluidity. 

His straight-line speed isn’t likely to be the fastest in the draft (expect somewhere in the 4.4-4.5s) but Toney has an added element to his game which not many other players have: he plays with a genuine electricity. He appears to be faster than his 40 will show due to an incredible combination of jerky, unpredictable movement(s), sudden change of direction and an impressive repertoire of hand and arm feints. If the defensive back even considers being a split-second slow with hips or feet at the line, Toney is going to capitalize and get open. There are times on the tape – both at the line and in the open-field – where defenders seem genuinely ‘frightened’ to press or tackle him. His ability commands respect.

He is compact in stature at 6-0, 180 but very strong with it and his control of every inch and pound of his body is masterful. His awareness and movement is elite; he can accelerate, decelerate, stop and juke on a dime. This makes him a nasty prospect in the open field and in 1-on-1 coverage. He displays ankle-breaking change of direction/twitch – just ask Florida State’s Hamsah Nasirildeen. He is incredible after the catch but what is most impressive is just how many ways, he is able to beat defenders and how many tackles he is able to avoid/break using his strength, control & twitch combination. He is a highlight creator and frankly, some of them would make even the most assured of contortionist blush.

Toney has lined up at multiple positions for the Gators which would suggest he has the requisite football IQ to succeed in the NFL. Also, the fact he has achieved all of this in only one full season as a receiver could suggest he has a natural affinity for the position and the ability to make big plays. Toney has made all kinds of plays for Florida including from running back, in-motion, on jet-sweeps and on designed runs. He is especially effective underneath on shorter & crossing routes, can find soft-spots in zones and has shown the ability to explode beyond the defense and make a deep play.

He is a very fun player to watch and his ceiling could be extraordinarily high. His versatility and explosiveness have seen him compared to Percy Harvin (not to mention the fact Harvin also played #1 at receiver for Florida) but he’s more jittery than that.

Weaknesses:

Cards on the table, there’s not a great deal unless being picky. Experience, route-running, hands and blocking would be the main concerns.

Whilst the tape and stats are impressive, it must be remembered that Toney has only really played one full season as a wide receiver. He lacks that consistent, dominant production that other receivers likely to go in the first round have and his only standout year came in a roster and schedule-impacted 2020 season. More importantly than that is how much will the pro level expose skill weaknesses in his game that haven’t been seen or developed in college? Furthermore, his lack of experience is partly due to injuries, which is always a concern.

As is often seen from players coming out of college, the route types he was asked to run were somewhat limited. Particularly in 2020, he developed well in this area and was accomplished in what he was asked to run (screens, reverses, shorter routes) however it would be vital to continue his exposure to other routes to fully round off his ability in this area (deeper & more intricate route patterns).

Toney is above-average with his hands and has shown ability to catch outside his frame however he has shown some weaknesses in contested situations because of his tendency to use his body to help him secure some catches. Balls he caught using his body are easily knocked and this could develop into a much bigger problem in the NFL. This could suggest a lack of confidence and he must learn to rely on his hands more often to be more reliable in this regard.

Lastly, Toney is a willing blocker in the run game and will display the competitive toughness required to engage his man where necessary. His smaller frame and lesser strength when he can’t use his explosiveness makes it difficult for him to sustain any lengthy, more physical blocks and he will often be moved out of the way.

 

Fit with the Packers

Packers fanbase seems divided on the receiver position at the moment (“hey, what’s new right?!”). Many fans seem to be wanting that first round stud they have so long craved and others trust Matt LaFleur’s offense to continue without it. Those in the first group are going to be sadly disappointed again come draft night.

A receiver like Toney would fit in any offense in the league but especially in Matt LaFleur’s with the variety of play-calling and schemes. He would provide a conundrum for defenders alongside Davante Adams and would contribute in the screen, sweep and running aspects of the offense, as well as providing an instant boost to Maurice Drayton’s special teams. However, the chances of the Packers adding a receiver in round one seems to be getting slimmer by the day. There is simply too much value at the receiver position and too many needs elsewhere for Gute and MLF to spend their first-round pick on Kadarius Toney.

Toney’s ceiling is high, no doubt. But there are legitimate questions over his experience at the position and his lack of evidence of sustained production. Compared with possible later round picks of Dyami Brown, Terrace Marshall Jr., Amon-Ra St. Brown, Elijah Moore, Tutu Atwell and even D’Wayne Eskridge, the value just doesn’t match up. It seems likely that analysts and commentators will have another year’s usage of the ‘Aaron Rodgers/Marcedes Lewis first-round draft pick’ stat. Packers strategy is anyone’s guess though and if they do pick Toney in Round 1 (or by some miracle he drops to Round 2), one thing is guaranteed: everybody will enjoy the ride.

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2 points

Comments (9)

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MarkinMadison's picture

March 09, 2021 at 05:57 pm

I'd have a bit of heartburn seeing the Packers spend a first round pick on a smaller WR who has had injury issues.

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stockholder's picture

March 09, 2021 at 06:48 pm

. I like the "After the Catch" But I think Adams has changed the way the Packers draft WR. Give me the guy with the best Hands. And can still run under 4.5. Tooney will take time. The injuries are a concern. I doubt he'll be able to hold up.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 10, 2021 at 11:45 am

Bateman would be a target if they wanted another WR.

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Titletown222's picture

March 09, 2021 at 08:08 pm

I hope he gets picked before us. Then I can’t blame the Packers if we pass on him. I see him similar to Reggie bush. He is an electric playmaker. He’s not undersized or fragile. He gets open, separates, stops on a dime, incredible change of direction and frequently breaks tackles. I would have no problem with the packers adding him to our team. I’m hoping he’s not in our division. I don’t want to play against him.

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Mike Rossmeier's picture

March 09, 2021 at 10:21 pm

Would be great to have a gamebreaker like this, but slimmest of chances he ends up a Packer. They won't take him in Round 1, and he'll be gone in Round 2.

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HankScorpio's picture

March 10, 2021 at 05:32 am

According to the Draft Industrial Complex, Toney is in that range of guys to be considered in round 1. I'm as solidly in the group that says they need to add WR talent as anyone. And I've passed on him in draft sims plenty of times. I can usually find an OT that I like better. Or maybe I should say I like the combo of earlier OT and later WR better than going WR earlier than OT.

I will be the last person to complain if they stand pat and draft him at 29. Better still would be some traading down that results in Toney being a Packer. For my money, 4 picks on day 2 beats 1 pick on Day 1 and 2 picks on day 2...provided the first pick is not 62.

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jannes bjornson's picture

March 10, 2021 at 11:48 am

OT or CB and control the fifth year option.

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The_Justicar's picture

March 10, 2021 at 07:04 pm

Being both a packers and gators season ticket holder I think I offer some insight on Toney. His first year at Florida he started at QB in spring practice (he was an early enrollee). He was promised a shot. Not winning a spot in the qb rotation he moved to WR. He didn’t play WR in high school so a slow start at a new position isn’t surprising. He did make an impact on screens , end around and made an occasional pass. Decent year for a true freshman.

As a sophomore he had a new coaching staff. Pretty much played the same role as a freshman- gadget player or weapon. The knock on him from the coaches (and fans) was that as often as he made a big play by breaking tackles, he also lost yardage a lot but not waiting for blocks and reversing field all the time.

As a jr he started strong...,he and coaches said he had developed as a WR and opened big vs Miami. In game two vs a division 2 team he separated his shoulder and missed most of the year.

While he had no off season issues, prior to his senior year he also focused on his rap career, performed after the orange bowl at a Miami club. He was a decent player his first 3 years but seemed to be just a skilled guy going through motions. On Twitter too much. Too much non football.

As a senior, not only did he have a great year as. Wr he was a total team player. Have effort blocking. Practiced hard. He disappeared from Twitter and off field events. Totally immersed himself in football. Instead of winging it and reversing field and trying to make the big play every catch or run, he instead stayed patient and let holes open and waited for blocks and had more big plays than ever. He ran patterns leaving corners and linebackers grasping at air. He would get wide open all the time but also made some tough contested catches, he played hard every game. Just a great year for him.

I would like to see him on the Packers but..the Packers don’t draft Florida Gators. Since My freshman year at UF in 1987 I only recall two gators ever drafted by the Packers...FB Dexter McNabb and RB Deshawn Wynn. Despite UF having tons of talent under Spurrier and Meyer, packer scouts pretty much ignore the gators (and instead load up on the pac 12). So, no chance packers draft Toney.

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Mike Rossmeier's picture

March 10, 2021 at 08:54 pm

Justicar - I don't think they'll draft Toney either, unless he falls all the way to the bottom of the 2nd. But I wouldn't get too hung up on Packers not drafting Gators. Cal has had as many QBs as any that washed out, including Rich Campbell, Packers No. 1 years ago, who I believe Starr took over Ronnie Lott, and yet TT still drafted Rodgers.

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