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Former NFL scout believes Florida WR Kadarius Toney could fall into the 2nd round due to several serious concerns on and off the field

Daniel Kelly a former NFL scout with the New York Jets is pretty concerned about the draft stock of WR Kadarius Toney. He feels Toney could fall out of first-round conversations.

Scouting Report: WR/R Kadarius Toney 6’0” 193 (Florida) 40 time: 4.39 (florida.rivals.com)

Film reviewed: (2020) Ole Miss, South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee and Alabama

Diminutive looking gadget player at receiver who is quick, flexible, and has the speed to go deep with good, but not great hands. A real weapon that adds another dimension to an offense. Must be accounted for at all times. Toney also has upside as a punt returner (2020: 11 returns for 139 yards, 1 touchdown, long of 50 espn.com) and kick returner (12 returns for 155 yards long of 37 espn.com). Hands can be a concern at times. This showed up in the one-on-ones at the Senior Bowl practices. It was disappointing how he looked there at a big football event. He looked out of sorts. He looked and played like he was distracted and “not all there mentally.”

Occasionally runs some lazier and sloppier-looking routes in-game film. Not the same-looking crisp route running every time out. 

Ideally fits an offense that runs a lot of short receiver screens. Lines up a lot in the slot. Can catch it and go. Darting-type runner. Has confidence in his hands. Plucks the ball. Grabs it and goes up the sidelines. Decent YAC (yards-after-catch) ability. Fast enough and he is a determined runner. Good on shallow crossing routes.

Toney gets into his routes fairly quickly. Really excels on any routes that feature a quick change of direction. Flexible hips. He can change direction quickly, crisply, and tightly at the route break-points. Explosive at route break-points. Has a real burst of speed that shows up on film coming out of breaks that can leave corners in the dust. Possesses a second-gear like a sports car. Great acceleration in these situations. Toney is tough and he is not afraid at all to go over the middle. 

He is dangerous deep on stop-and-go routes that feature his ability to make a quick change of direction and his second gear to create separation. It can really sneak up on a corner if he is not expecting it. Can blow the doors off a corner on this type of route. 

Florida liked to motion Toney inward and occasionally give him a handoff, which he showed off tough running, great balance, and determination (see LSU game). Really helps sell misdirection plays too. 

Physical as a run blocker. Showed repeatedly he will mix it up with defenders. Gets after defenders. Like a smaller dog that can attack people. 

Toney is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. He adds that element to an offense. He is also a determined punt returner who has some wiggle and toughness. Good value player. I like everything about him except he does not catch enough of the passes that are thrown in his direction. Slightly suspect hands (2020: targeted 85 times/70 receptions rotowire.com). Everything else is great, but I think his hands and character concerns drop him into the early second round or a team like the Bills, Rams, or Chiefs picks him up late in the first and he becomes yet another weapon in their arsenals. Has some visible attitude, emotion, and fire that comes out. Likes to let everyone really know visibly on film “He’s the man” when he takes it to the house. 

Off the field Toney was one of seven Gator players who was suspended for the opener in 2018 for “not living up the Gator standard (alligatorarmy.com). Further concerns surfaced when police stopped Toney’s vehicle and he was found to be in possession of an AR-15 rifle. Concerns have also surfaced over Toney’s attempted rap career when he went by the name “Yung Joka.” The concern is if he is more interested in his rap career than football.

Where would I draft Kadarius Toney?

Daniel Kelly’s Draft Board: I am not completely sold on him. I am not feeling it. He is an exciting player at times, but I do not get excited watching him play. Something feels off to me and I cannot get past it or talk myself into it. Toney is not on my draft board. He is an intriguing player, but there is a lot more that goes into building a team outside of production and stats. Chemistry is a big part of the equation. The off-field stuff has a real possibility of re-surfacing and becoming a major distraction and headache. It does not seem to be isolated or a one-off situation. It has a strong feeling of possible future escalation to me.

Probability of being a bust: 70%

If I were a GM, this is the one question I would need answered in my mind about Kadarius Toney: I would want to look him in the eyes and ask him, “What is your goal?” 

My top concerns about Toney:

  1. Occasional non-sharp looking route.
  2. Drops and not coming up with catches he should have made. 
  3. Does he lack focus and concentration at times? 
  4. The off-field stuff. 
  5. Is he more into a career in football or rap? 

How NFL defenses will beat him: Play zone defensive coverage against him where he can not hurt the defense (as much) with his two biggest football attributes (quick change of direction and his speed out of breaks). Keep him in front of the defense as opposed to letting him get behind it.

Daniel Kelly is a former NFL scout with the New York Jets. He was hired on the regime which featured Bill Parcells, Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, and Dick Haley. He currently writes for Sports Illustrated Detroit Lions and he is a contributing evaluator for Draft Diamonds. For more information about him visit his website at whateverittakesbook.com. He can be followed on Twitter @danielkellybook and his Facebook page is WHATEVER IT TAKES NFL TALK. 

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