If you were banging the table for DeVonta Smith at No. 11 pre-draft, you’ve got to feel pretty good with the selection of Kadarius Toney plus a future first-round pick as a consolation prize. The electric playmaker puts a stamp on the New York Giants‘ reworked receiving corps alongside big-bodied signee, Kenny Golladay.
Toney becomes not only the first wideout Big Blue has selected in the first-round since Odell Beckham Jr. (2014), but also just the second receiver the team has drafted since 2017 (Darius Slayton, fifth-round, 2019). Now, the UF product looks to follow in the footsteps of Beckham and other former Giants greats as he ventures to carve out a career within one of the league’s more storied franchises.
“It’s kinda crazy growing up watching like NFL football sometimes, like me just going to a team like Eli Manning was there, you know what I’m saying?” Toney said to reporters during a Zoom call, via the New York Daily News. “Odell Beckham was there, you know what I’m saying? Like, Tiki Barber… I’m just next in line to do something special I guess you could say.”
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Toney is Eager to Learn
There’s no question what Toney can do with the football in his hands — his highlight film oozes Dante Hall-esque abilities in the open field. Yet, with a head coach in Joe Judge who’s a stickler for the details and a suddenly deep receiving corps in New York, Toney will need to prove his worth if he hopes to man offensive snaps with regularity from the jump. The good news, he’s eager to put his head down and get to work.
“Honestly, I’m thinking about the playbook right now, as far as learning right now,” the wide receiver noted.
Born and raised in the south, the Alabama native has never stepped foot in New York. Now, he’ll be looked at as a key cog in helping turn over a Giants franchise that has just one playoff appearance over the last nine years.
“I know New York is kind of big, it’s crazy, the ‘Big Apple.’ I don’t really know a lot about New York because I’ve never been. I never traveled a lot,” he said. “But I feel like it’s a lot to learn about the Giants that I don’t know. I feel like I don’t know anything right now. Right now, I’m trying to find the quickest thing I can learn and move forward.”
Toney, who led the Florida Gators in nearly every receiving statistical category this past season — despite playing alongside No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts — posted 70 receptions, 984 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns in 2020. He also added 161 yards and a touchdown on the ground this past season. Toney brings a skillset previously vacant within the Giants’ offense and is the most modernized athlete the team has had on their offense in some time.
According to Pro Football Focus, Toney has forced 44 missed tackles over the past two seasons. He also added extra value in the return game, averaging 21.6 yards per kickoff return and 11.3 yards per punt return over his UF career.
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