With “Trader Dave” in full swing for the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Giants moved back from No. 11 overall to No. 20 in the first round, ultimately selecting Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney. The pick surprised some, not because of his skill set (which is tantalizing), but rather because Toney had rarely been linked to the G-Men during the draft process.
While Giants faithful quickly got to work doing research on their new playmaker — i.e. pulling up highlight clips on YouTube — a certain AFC South team had to quickly regather themselves after watching their top target come off the board just five picks before they were on the clock.
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Urban Meyer Opens Up About Jags’ Interest in Toney
On Thursday, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer — while not naming any names — said on ESPN’s Draft broadcast that a player was taken before the team’s selection at No. 25 that “broke our heart” to not be able to pick.
On Friday, Meyer was far less shielded, revealing to ESPN’s College GameDay that the player in question was none other than Toney.
“I’ve gotten to know him over the last couple weeks and obviously my connection with [Gators] coach [Dan] Mullen and those guys,” Meyer said, via ESPN. “You watch [Toney] play, he’s a human highlight reel.”
Of course, Meyer and the Jags found themselves a solid compensation prize in Clemson’s Travis Etienne, supplying No. 1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence with his college running back.
What Will Toney’s Role Look Like as a Rookie?
Meyer went on to discuss his plan for Etienne, claiming the 22-year-old is “much more than a running back… he’s a slash.” There are already rumblings out of Jacksonville that the first-rounder could man a similar role as Percy Harvin once did playing under Meyer in Gainsville. And frankly, don’t be surprised to see Toney utilized in a similar fashion for the Giants this season.
“It will be interesting to see how the Giants deploy Toney. He’s not quite ready to take on a full-time role as a starting wide receiver, but he’s too talented — and dynamic — to keep off the field,” NJ Advance Media’s Zack Rosenblatt wrote. “It wouldn’t be surprising if he lined up everywhere, including running back.”
Toney is no stranger to having the football in his hands. In actuality, it’s where he’s the most comfortable. Arguably the most electric open-field playmaker in the entire class, the Alabama native was used in a multitude of different alignments with the Gators to better help manufacture touches for the wideout. Over his four seasons at Florida, Toney hauled in 120 receptions for 1,590 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also added another 580 yards and two touchdowns as a rusher.
Marred by injuries earlier in his career, 2020 was really the first season where Toney was able to truly display his skill set. On the year, he collected 1,145 of his 2,170 career scrimmage yards while scoring all but three of his 14 career touchdowns.