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Giants 2021 roster profile: WR Kadarius Toney could help change Giants’ offense

The test for the Giants will be finding ways to utilize Toney’s skills

Syndication: The Record
Kadarius Toney during minicamp.
Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Explosive. Electric. Dangerous. Playmaker.

Those are the kinds of words talent evaluators use when they describe Kadarius Toney, the wide receivers the New York Giants selected No. 20 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

What can the Giants expect from Toney in 2021? That likely depends largely on how they intend to use him. Let’s take a look at Toney as we continue our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the team will bring to training camp.

The basics

Height: 6-foot
Weight: 193
Age: 22
Position: Wide receiver
Experience: Rookie
Contract: Year 1 of four-year, $13.719 million deal | Guaranteed: $13.719 million | 2021 cap hit: $2.494 million

Syndication: The Record
Kadarius Toney working with one cleat on during his first practice.
Amy Newman-NorthJersey.com via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Career to date

Toney has had an undeniably awkward start to his Giants’ career. The cleat incident that saw him spend part of his first rookie minicamp practice working with one shoe on. Skipping voluntary OTAs, something rookies usually don’t do. Slipping to the turf after catching a pass and failing to make it through the first practice of mandatory minicamp.

None of that, though, probably means a lot when it comes to what kind of career Toney will have with the Giants. It also doesn’t tell us why the Giants drafted him at No. 20 when pass rusher or offensive line seemed more likely. It also doesn’t tell us how dominant he was at Florida last season.

Why did the Giants draft him?

GM Dave Gettleman:

“One of the off-season goals was to add weapons on offense and Kadarius, certainly he’s a good-size kid. He’s strong. He can run. He catches the ball well and he’s a very tough kid and he’s got return skills ... We’re thrilled to have Kadarius Toney, okay. He is a big kid. He’s a good-sized kid who can fly. He’s got really good hands. He’s got great run-after-catch skills. We’re thrilled to have him.”

Director of College Scouting Chris Pettit:

“He’s a playmaker. He’s instinctive, he’s tough, makes a lot of plays with the ball in his hands. We feel he has flex inside and out. He also has value as a returner for us. Like I said, this is an instinctive, tough guy with very good athletic ability and speed.”

What did Toney do last season at Florida?

After three seasons being used primarily as an “athlete” or gadget player, Toney blossomed as a receiver. Here are the numbers:

70 receptions, 984 yards, 10 touchdowns, 14.1 yards per catch, 8.5 yards per carry on 19 rushes, an average of 22.1 yards on 7 kickoff returns, an average of 12.6 yards and a touchdown on 11 punt returns.

Toney was seventh in the nation in missed tackles forced after receptions (20) and 12th in yards after catch (477).

Here is what Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy said about Toney before the draft:

“One of the most electric players in college football this year,” Nagy said.

“He’s one of those guys you kind of throw the measurables out because he’s not the biggest guy, but he plays really big with the ball in his hands. He’s really powerful through contact he’s tough, he’s aggressive. The football makeup is really off the charts when it come to passion for the game and competitiveness when he gets on the field. As a route runner he’s a really hard cover because he’s so quick changing direction and he knows how to set guys up.”

2021 outlook

If anything will provide an indication of how the Giants’ offense evolves — or does not evolve — in Jason Garrett’s second season as offensive coordinator it might be how effectively the Giants incorporate Toney’s unique catch-and-run skillset.

David Turner, owner and president of Maverick Sports Consulting, is a former NFL talent evaluator who was a pro personnel intern with the Giants when Garrett was the team’s backup quarterback. He knows Garrett and his family well.

“I’ve been to their house, sat with their dad, Jack, and watched him talk football. I’ve known that family for a long time, my whole career.They know football so well and you give him [Jason Garrett] a weapon like Toney I don’t think he’s ever going to have a problem figuring it out,” Turner said.

“I think he’ll be just fine throwing him some bubble screens, running some Z reverse stuff with him, giving him the short to intermediate routes where he can get the ball in his hands quick. Kadarius gives Jason a weapon that he hasn‘t had much in his career. So therefore we don’t know how he’s going to use him, but by me knowing him and the family and their creative nature I really feel comfortable he’ll find ways to use him.”

Quarterback trainer Tony Racioppi is another interested observer who has known Garrett for many years. Before the Giants had drafted Toney or signed Kenny Golladay, Racioppi told Big Blue View he expected changes from Garrett in 2021.

“There’s more stuff you can do within the skills guys that they have. I know he’s going to do that,” Racioppi said.

Mark Schofield took a look at some of the concepts Garrett and the Giants could use to get Toney the ball.

Toney probably enters training camp as the Giants No. 4 wide receiver behind Golladay, Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard. Will he stay that way throughout the season? The answer probably depends on both how well he adjusts to NFL coverages and how well the Giants adjust to his skillset.

Our Nick Falato predicted the following 2021 stat line for Toney:

  • 14 games
  • 58 catches on 83 targets, 628 REC yards, 6 REC TDs
  • 18 rushing attempts, 126 RU yards, 1 RU TD
  • 3 passing attempts, 1 completed pass, 14 yards

Throw in some punt return and possible kickoff return yardage and that puts Toney on pace for 1,000 or so total yards as a rookie. I don’t know about the fan base, but I would sign up for that.

More on Toney ...

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Will Kadarius Toney finish over or under 58 catches/628 receiving yards in 2021?

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