NAME: Kadarius Toney
POSITION: Wide Receiver
WEIGHT: 193 pounds
Growing up in Mobile, Alabama, Kadarius Toney attended Blount High School for his high school football career. While there, he was the team’s starting quarterback for the final two years. Toney helped Blount reach a 20-5 record in his last two seasons. Meanwhile, he was a dual threat signal caller. Toney totaled 3,604 passing yards and 896 rushing yards in his junior season, while also scoring 53 total touchdowns (37 passing, 16 rushing). Following that campaign, Toney was named to the Class 6A All-State second team and AL.com Coastal Alabama first team. He followed that up with 2,984 passing yards and 894 rushing yards as a senior. To boot, Toney had a total of 47 touchdowns (32 passing, 15 rushing). He was labeled as Alabama 6A Back of the Year, made the 2016 AL.com Super All-State team, named Offensive MVP of the 2016 AL.com All-Coastal Alabama team.
Toney received a handful of scholarship offers from schools like South Alabama, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Georgia Tech. It appeared as though he was going to choose Alabama and play for Nick Saban. However, Toney left his home state for the Florida Gators in Gainesville. 247Sports rated him as a three-star recruit and the 20th best recruit from the state of Alabama. While at Florida, Toney struggled to find a clear role early on. Labeled as an athlete (ATH) on the team’s depth chart, he bounced around from running back to wide receiver, and even took snaps as a wildcat quarterback. The lack of consistent snaps and a myriad of injuries in both 2017 and 2019 kept him out of the lineup.
Everything clicked for Toney in 2020, though. Florida exclusively used him at wide receiver. Easily, he shattered his past production and set new career highs in receptions (70), receiving yards (984), receiving touchdowns (10) and scrimmage yards (1,145). A strong 2020 season earned Toney first team All-SEC honors.
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Obviously, Toney can flat out fly. His short area quickness is just as dangerous as his long speed. But, it is the understanding and control of how to accelerate and decelerate in certain areas of the field that make Toney’s speed stand out. You watch him run certain quick routes and see him speed up, slow down and then take off just at the right time to gain separation. Toney does not just show off his speed when the right time calls for it. On the other hand, he makes even the more nimble moving defenders look slow. By taking aggressive, smart angles and stressing opponents by mostly moving upfield, Toney eats up ground in a flash.
For a bit of a lighter and shorter frame, Toney has some dog in him. He loves to show that he can outmuscle opponents. Moreover, Toney is not going to hesitate in laying a shoulder into you, or putting his head down and running you over if he can. This type of mentality and attitude, combined with his spatial awareness, allow for him to pick up additional yardage after contact. There are plenty of times on tape where the play looks to be over. Yet, Toney will run through an opponent and get enough for a first down. The defender either cannot complete the tackle or gets blown backwards. This is a big plus for Toney entering the league, given his track record of minimal production and lighter frame.
Toney creates ample separation very naturally. It is much more than just his quick twitch style and elusive speed, however. Overall, he brings a fair amount of head or arm fakes and counters to the table. Toney keeps defenders on their heels with his deceptiveness. He comes out of releases and breaks so relaxed. Defenders have no idea which direction or area of the field he is going to run towards. Furthermore, Toney can separate just as well deep down the field, as he does in the short to intermediate part. Opponents rarely pressed him at Florida. They respected his speed. But, he does a great job of setting himself up for big plays before the ball even gets there.
Depth Of Route Tree
It is extremely hard to find many knocks on Toney’s game and current body of work. This issue has nothing to do with his route running per se. For example, he is comfortable and has a great plan of attack against opposing defenders. Nonetheless, Florida did not ask him to do much more than basic routes as the weeks progressed. Minimized mostly to crossers, flat routes, whips or quick screens, Toney will likely need time to adjust to the playbook of an NFL receiver. His ability to win in all three levels should help. But, Toney can stand to add more to his route tree arsenal at the pro level. Can he grow in this area at a rapid pace?
Toney displays natural hands at the catch point. This issue has more to do with his results in traffic and contested catch situations. Taller defensive backs with monumental length tend to give him difficulties. Simply, Toney has been too hit or miss in contested situations. One would like to see him time his jumps better. And, he appears to become distracted in traffic while the ball is in the air. There are the occasional bobbles and juggles. Elsewhere, Toney will need to come down with balls more often that are placed in the right position, away from where the defender can get it.
Once again, the history on Toney has been up and down. His 2020 season was one that many will not forget. Only having the one year of solid production is not all on him, as the way coaches used him were largely out of his control. In the meantime, the injuries and minimal time spent solely at wide receiver are question marks teams will have to work through. Toney has also mainly been limited to reps in the slot. Further coaching and seasoning could possibly allot him more snaps outside.
With the need at wide receiver, the Kansas City Chiefs would be bringing in a versatile weapon, if they were able to add Kadarius Toney. The ability to create separation and run smooth routes could give him a great deal of snaps early on. Other players have struggled to quickly adapt to the intricacies of playing receiver in Andy Reid‘s offense. Though, Toney is extremely diverse both before and after the catch and provides big play ability any time he touches the rock. Even if it comes at the expense of designed touches, he is someone who would bring comfort to a passer like Patrick Mahomes. Finally, the Chiefs would once again be adding more to their team strength of speed.
Be on the lookout for more FPC Chiefs draft prospect profiles throughout the winter and spring. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.