Kadarius Toney Scouting Report By Charlie Campbell
Dynamic run-after-the-catch receiver
Constantly creates separation
Threat to score or rip off long gains on any touch
Second-gear burst to get upfield
Good route runner
Explosive in and out of breaks
Natural instinctive runner
Excellent with the ball in his hands
Very elusive in the open field
Can challenge defenses deep downfield
Dangerous returner on special teams
Experienced; ready to contribute quickly
Excelled against elite competition
Not a large build
Questionable ability to hold up in the NFL
Summary: Immediately after landing with Florida, Toney flashed big-play ability and looked like had the potential to be a star. During Toney's underclassmen years, the Gators' offense was held back by inconsistent quarterback play along with a weak offensive line - that dysfunction led to a coaching change. Florida was also very deep at receiver, spreading the ball around to a number of future pros. As a result, Toney did not produce much though the air as a freshman (15-152) and sophomore (25-260-1), but did run for 360 yards on 35 carries with a touchdown on the ground over those years.
Toney looked poised to explode as a junior in 2019 after a tremendous season-opener against Miami, but an injury knocked him out for the majority of the year, leaving him with just 10 catches - for 194 yards and a touchdown. Things finally fell into place for Toney in 2020, as he stayed healthy and had a talented quarterback in Kyle Trask to work with. Toney ripped off 984 yards on 70 receptions and scored 10 times. He also took 19 carries for 161 yards and another touchdown. His dynamite 2020 season led to an invitation to the Senior Bowl, where he impressed team sources with his explosive playmaking ability.
Toney is a special wide receiver who is phenomenal at creating separation to get open for his quarterback. There is no doubt he is an explosive playmaker who is a threat to rip off a long gain on any reception. Toney is a truly explosive receiver who has mismatch ability for the NFL. Cornerbacks really struggle to run with Toney, who is extremely quick on top of being extremely sudden and explosive in and out of his breaks. That leads to him easily creating separation, and when he gets the ball, he is deadly. Toney possesses natural running instincts, and he turns into a running back once he gets the ball, gaining tremendous amounts of yards after the catch with his elite explosion and elusive moves in the open field.
What really sets Toney apart is how dangerous he is with the ball in his hands. He has excellent vision to weave around defenders and uses his speed to rip off yards in chunks. Along with his quick first-step, Toney has a second gear and a burst in the open field with some serious explosion. He has quick feet and cutting ability, allowing him to stop-start, stutter step, maintain contact balance, and run tough to get yards after contact. When the ball hits Toney on the run, he is a big problem for defenders because he is tough to grab in the open field with his shifty moves. Toney has enough speed to run away from defenders and take a catch the distance. Toney is superb on screens and jet sweeps to race through the defense.
Toney will bring significant versatility to the NFL. He can line up as an outside receiver and play the X - split end - to challenge teams vertically. Toney also is dangerous out of the slot and could be a tough receiver to defend on underneath routes. With his natural ability as a runner, Toney also could take some carries out of the backfield, alhtough given his size and durability history, that role will need to be limited in the NFL. On top of his offensive skills, Toney is a dynamic returner who could contribute on special teams, but his pro team will probably use him very selectively as a returner to protect his health.
The only real concern about Toney for the next level is durability. He had injury issues prior to his senior year and is undersized. He could have issues staying healthy and avoiding getting dinged up.
From his 2020 season and Senior Bowl performance, there is no doubt that Toney is a playmaker who could contribute immediately in the NFL. He could be a Deebo Samuel- or Curtis Samuel-type weapon as a receiver, runner and returner. Toney excelled against good competition and is ready to hit the ground running as a pro. In the 2021 NFL Draft, Toney could get consideration late in the first round. If he slips to the second night of the 2021 NFL Draft, he should be among the first players to come off the board in Round 2.
Player Comparison: Deebo Samuel Toney's explosive playmaking ability and his dangerous run-after-the-catch skills remind me of Samuel coming out of South Carolina. Samuel was a high second-round pick - 36th overall - in the 2019 NFL Draft and has been a playmaker for the 49ers. Toney could go late in the first round or early in the second round during the 2021 Draft and end up as a playmaker comparable to Samuel in the NFL.