Updated: Feb 18
5'11" 189 lbs (BMI 26.36)
Breakout Age: 21.6
Dominator Rating: 23.7%
Kadarius Toney has been some what of a controversial prospect lately. He has risen up a lot of draft boards and there have been rumors that he may slide into the end of the 1st round of the NFL draft (Daniel Jeremiah has him at 20 to Chicago in his 2.0 mock draft). It's clear that Toney is a playmaker, but does Toney have what it takes to be a good receiver in the NFL?
According to Rivals.com, Toney was a 3 star ATH recruit. He played QB in high school and could honestly do it all. He committed to Florida, but wouldn't make a true impact until his senior season. Here are Toney's college stat lines before his senior season:
Freshman: 15 rec, 152 yards and 0 tds
Sophomore: 25 rec, 260 yards and 1 td
Junior: 10 rec, 194 yards and 1 td
While he did have some carries too, it's clear that Toney was near a non factor in the Florida offense. He actually had more carries than receptions in his freshman and junior season (14 and 12).
Despite not really making an impact through his junior season, Toney found himself to be a big part of the Florida offense for his senior season. He finished the year with 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had 19 carries for 161 yards and 1 touchdown.
While I was digging into some film for this article, I wasn't all that impressed by what I saw. He didn't have many "wow" moments that made me think that he is a legit receiver. While I don't necessarily believe that Toney is bad, I also don't believe he is a great receiving prospect. Let's take a look at some clips.
Let's start the film breakdown with what I think Toney is best at. I think his best attribute is making plays with the ball in his hands. He is excellent at shaking tackles and has shown he is one of the most elusive players in college football. It's fun to watch him with the ball in his hands as a runner or after the catch. Below will be a compilation of some of his best plays as either a runner or after the catch.
While watching him, I do think he shows promise as a route runner. Check out this route here. It really stuck out how smooth and quick he made the spin. He uses his plant foot well to burst out of the spin and get open. I thought it was really good footwork.
Here is another clip of some good route running from Toney. He sells the curl route really well and the moment he sees the defender closing in, he cuts inside and makes the easy reception for a big gain.
This next clip is probably my favorite of Toney's. You'll see here that Toney dances here a bit but he gets the defender to bite on the fake and Toney breaks his ankles. He gets the reception and somehow scores. It was an impressive play, but I will also say that was some terrible tackling attempts by South Carolina.
While watching film of Toney, there weren't a lot of plays where i saw that he demonstrated ball skills or contested catch abilities. Below is one play where I did think Toney made a nice adjustment to the ball. You can see that the defender gets outside but Toney uses his plant foot to bust inside and shows burst to get open. He makes a minor adjustment and then makes a big play.
My main concern with Toney is his analytical profile. It's never a good sign when a player doesn't breakout until his senior season. Having a breakout age of 21.6 is not what you want to see. Toney is older than the players he is going against and should be more polished. It's not as impressive as it would have been if he was a sophomore or junior lighting it up.
Another issue is his college dominator rating. It was only 23.7%. I like to see that number hit at least 30% as a receiver. Granted, he did have Kyle Pitts who had a 32% dominator rating, but I still want to see that number be higher, ESPECIALLY for a late breakout player such as Toney.
As far as film, my concerns are that he didn't seem to have many contested catches and didn't have many instances where he displayed good ball skills. PFF shows that only 10.7% of his targets were deep throws (20+ yards down the field). Since he was not targeted deep very often, it was hard to judge his ball skills fully. When he was targeted, it seemed that he was wide open, so I couldn't get a sense of ball tracking, adjustments or 50/50 ball ability.
Unfortunately, Toney has some off-the-field concerns as well. In his sophomore year, Toney and another teammate were caught on video pointing air soft guns at a man who later said he was scared for his life. It's understood that they were pretending they were real guns. Toney was also caught with a loaded AR-15 in his vehicle. He was not arrested, and said the gun was for protection. Obviously players have done worse things and gone on to have successful careers, but I do consider this a red flag.
If I had to comp Toney, it would be a lesser Percy Harvin. I don't think Toney is as good as him, but I think he will be utilized similarly in the NFL as a gadget player.
I don't want anything to do with Kadarius Toney in my rookie drafts. It mainly has to do with value. If Toney gets 1st round draft capital, I would expect his ADP to rise in rookie drafts, and there are at least 11 other receivers alone that I will have over him in my rankings. I personally believe he will be more of a gadget type player in the NFL (similar to Percy Harvin, Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson). He does have playmaking ability, but I just don't see him being an impact receiver in the NFL and that wouldn't make him fantasy relevant for me.