The New York Giants surprised many when they used the No. 20 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft on Florida wideout Kadarius Toney. Since arriving in East Rutherford, his stint with Big Blue hasn’t been any more predictable.
While many in the draft community viewed Toney as a first-round talent, his perceived off-field concerns led to some expecting a draft-day slide for the highly-tantalizing prospect. When the Giants ultimately pulled the trigger on Toney, they were quickly questioned on their vetting process regarding the wideout’s “red flags.” During his time in Gainesville, the 22-year-old was suspended for “not living up to the Gator standard,” and also found to be (legally) in possession of an AR-15 during a traffic stop.
Thus far in New York, we haven’t seen any red flags per se. Yet, to say Toney’s first offseason with the Giants has gone as smoothly as humanly possible would certainly be a reach.
There was of course the infamous shoe saga, where a cleat issue led to Toney going through drills with one bare foot during rookie minicamp. From there he proceeded to skip OTAs, leading to a fair share of pushback amongst fans, with one questioning whether Toney is another “headcase diva” (h/t Giants Wire). The Alabama native then followed that up by missing one of the G-Men’s three-day mandatory minicamp practices due to a family emergency back home.
We’d also be remiss if we didn’t mention Toney clapping back at fans on Twitter for criticism of his music career following the release of his new music video International Player under his rap mantra, “Yung Joka.”
Now, it looks as if we can add yet another incident to Toney’s eventful introduction to the NFL.
Toney Lands on Reserve/COVID-19 List; Training Camp Status
The rookie wide receiver was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday, per the team’s official website. Obedient to NFL protocol, Toney is isolating and will participate in meetings remotely.
He will be eligible to return from the Reserve/COVID-19 list follow back-to-back negative tests. With this in mind, there’s a strong chance Toney will not be ready to take the field in time for the opening of Giants training camp on July 27th.
According to Zach Rosenblatt of NJ Media Group, Toney tested positive for COVID-19 but is “not feeling sick right now,” adding that the first-rounder is “fine” and “in good spirits.” This notion was seemingly backed by Toney himself, who took to Twitter shortly after news broke.
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Is Drafting Toney New York’s Biggest Offseason Regret?
Apparently so. That is, if you follow Kristopher Knox’s train of thinking. Despite numerous teams coming out of the woodwork to voice their displeasure at missing out on Toney on draft day, the Bleacher Report columnist still believes that the Giants should “regret” adding the Florida product to their receiving corps with the No. 20 overall pick.
The Giants needed to upgrade the supporting cast of quarterback Daniel Jones this offseason. The sixth pick in the 2019 draft showed promise as a rookie but stumbled last season — he had an 11-to-10 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a passer rating of 80.4 and 11 fumbles.
Taking a first-round flier on Florida wideout Kadarius Toney may have been a regrettable gamble, however. It’s not that Toney cannot become a quality receiver; the problem is that he’s unpolished and may not be a big contributor this season.
‘His late-career production and role, lack of consistency throughout his game and overall rawness should cause some concerns for a team looking to select him and feed touches to right out of the gate,’ Nate Tice of the B/R NFL scouting department wrote.
With Jones needing to deliver now, a first-round project gadget player was risky. New York passed on a more archetypal receiver in Rashod Bateman to take Toney as well as potential early starters in cornerback Caleb Farley and offensive tackle Christian Darrisaw.
Of course, if Toney goes out and performs up to his abilities early on in the regular season, all these concerns will quickly fall to the wayside. With that said, red flags don’t typically become categorized as actual red flags until it’s too late.
Here’s to hoping these recent oddities are nothing more than a blip on the radar of what has the chance of being a brilliant Giants career.
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