Greg Toler knocks the ball from Chaz Schilens of the New York Jets during a 2012 game - Elsa
NFL free agency begins on March 12. With that in mind, Big Blue View is looking at potential targets for the New York Giants. Today, we focus on Arizona Cardinals' cornerback Greg Toler.
Toler, is a 6-foot, 192-pounder who has started 15 games (13 in 2010) in three seasons in Arizona. The 28-year-old was a fourth-round pick by Arizona in 2009, and he missed the 2011 season with a torn left ACL. He played in 11 games in 2012.
Jess Root of SB Nation's Cardinals' web site, Revenge of the Birds, offers these thoughts on Toler:
"Greg is solid. He was a late-round pick from a small school and earned a starting job in 2010. His 2011 was derailed with an ACL tear in the preseason. He was going to start ahead of Patrick Peterson at the time. He struggled in 2012 with nagging injuries related to his knee and compensating for the previous injury (hamstring and such). Talking to him personally once, he said how frustrating it has been, but it was dealing with his body getting used to football again.
"The key to him is his health. When he wasn't battling injuries this year, he was fantastic.
"As a corner, he is physical and a great tackler. He is good in coverage. He is talented enough to be a number one corner, but would be a fantastic number two. He is better suited playing outside than at inside nickel.
"He is a tireless worker, very good in the locker room and great with fans.
"No one is quite sure about whether the Cards will let him go. I suppose it will have to deal with price tag. If he is healthy, he definitely a better number two than William Gay. The Cards, though, already have Jamell Fleming, whom they drafted a year ago, Gay and second year guy Justin Bethel (we will see if he becomes a safety or a corner).
"My guess is that he will not be a first few days free agent signing, because of who else is on the market (DRC, maybe Nnamdi) and because of his health, Our fan base wants him back, but with the new regime, it is hard to tell who they like."
ESPN lists Toler as an under-the-radar free agent who could help many teams around the league. ESPN says:
Take a look at the career regular-season coverage stats of Toler and you get a feel for a guy who could start for a handful of teams -- 720 snaps in coverage and 1,036 yards given up, with five touchdowns and five interceptions along with 13 pass breakups. That 1.44 yards per snap in coverage. That's less than guys like Cary Williams, Dunta Robinson and Aqib Talib gave up this season. Toler's performance in 2012, where quarterbacks had a 51.5 rating throwing into his coverage, isn't to be sniffed at.
You don't need every cornerback on your roster to be a No. 1 guy who shuts down the best the opposition has to offer. You do need them to be able to hold up when teams go after them. Watch how Toler handled Matthew Stafford in Week 15 and you'll see that he can do exactly that.
Pro Football Focus also lists Toler among the top free-agent corrnerbacks available, saying he is "a player who will likely slip under the radar but has played well whenever he has seen the field for the Cardinals in the past. Toler is physical and has coverage skills and could be a great signing for someone who misses out on some of the bigger names."