Kadarius Toney
The risk outweighs the reward when it comes to Kadarius Toney. Teams can’t reach for the gadget player out of Florida on Draft day. (AP Photo/John Raoux, Pool)

The Risk Outweighs The Reward When It Comes To Kadarius Toney

Florida gadget player Kadarius Toney is going to be a fascinating case study as the 2021 NFL Draft inches closer. On one hand, teams are desperate more than ever to add explosive offensive weapons. One Stefon Diggs can change your entire outlook as a franchise. Then again, you can get yourself if you reach and make a mistake.

Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney on paper looks like a hot ticket item on paper. The blazing speed and home run ability is undeniable. The kick return ability only adds to his value. Toney has the ability to play a role in the run and pass game. The only the problem is, what’s Toney’s true value?

Toney has gotten some first round buzz lately. Keep in mind, we’re still months away from the draft so things could change. However, it’s tough to justify a first round grade on Toney.

Nobody wants to hear this part but it’s true. If you draft Toney high in the draft, you have to believe that he can replicate Tyreek Hill. Toney and Hill are about the same size. The only problem is you’re looking at a thin landing strip.

Teams have often taken gambles on this type of player. You know exactly who I’m talking about. Players like De’Anthony Thomas, Dri Archer, Kenyon Barner, Donnell Pumphrey, etc. Most of the time, the little gadget guy has next to no value. Often times, your best case scenario is Tony Pollard.

There’s no combine this year but this part is already a known commodity. Toney’s speed won’t be a question mark. We just don’t know how good he is at the football stuff. His rushing volume has never been where you wanted but his 8.8 yards per carry average is encouraging.

Percy Harvin can probably be chalked up as a successful pick. However, Harvin had much more production at Florida than Toney. Harvin put up far more scrimmage yards in three years than Toney did in four. In fact, Toney was essentially a trick play guy prior to his Senior year.

In 11 games, the Gators wide out recorded 70 receptions for 984 yards, and ten touchdowns. That’s a great stat line. The problem is his prior three years in college still fall short of his senior stat line. You would have liked to see Toney dominate for more than one year. Especially given the shaky track record for players like him.

How good is Toney at the football part of the game? Can Toney be a functional part of the offense or do we have to call play specifically for him to succeed? Toney struggled at the Senior Bowl where his pure speed wasn’t enough to just win by itself. It was a lot of losing with a limited route tree and being shaken up from minor injuries. All signs of small stature players that have failed in the past.

Furthermore, if I’m going to take a chance on Toney, I’d much rather go the Rondale Moore route. Moore is a player that is eerily similar to Deebo Samuel. Get the ball in Moore’s hands and he can figure out the rest. More importantly, Moore adds a strength element that is unique for his size. Something that you look for when drafting a player like this.

I’m not here to disparage Kadarius Toney but this is a question of value. Teams have gotten so desperate for playmakers that a gadget guy has been pushed up the board where he doesn’t belong. 90 percent of them don’t make it. The shots you want to take are in the 6th round where Tyreek Hill was taken. Not the 2nd round like a Mecole Hardman who hasn’t lived up to expectations.

I’m not buying the Kadarius Toney cheese. The Gators wide receiver is an interesting prospect but the price is too rich for my blood. Toney hasn’t shown me that he’s special enough beyond just pure speed and athleticism. I need to see more and I haven’t to this point.