Potential Patriots: Florida WR Kadarius Toney


Over the month of April WEEI.com will offer up a total of 28 prospects who could be potential Patriots selections in the 2021 NFL Draft. While the top five projected overall prospects – QB Trevor Lawrence, QB Zach Wilson, WR Ja’Marr Chase, TE Kyle Pitts and OT Penei Sewell – won’t be included, all other players at all positions will be considered potential targets for Bill Belichick and his staff. Today takes a look at a unique, versatile playmaking athlete out of Florida.

Kadarius Toney

WR Florida

6-0, 197

Resume: Toney was a superstar QB at Blount High School in Mobile, Ala. He compiled a total of 100 touchdowns – 69 passing and 31 rushing – over his final two seasons at the school as the state’s Class 6A Back of the Year in 2016. … Toney committed to Florida over the likes of Ole Miss and South Carolina, and remained loyal to the Gators despite a late push from Alabama. … Though he went to Florida as a quarterback, he was officially listed as an “athlete” for all four of his college seasons. … Started one game at running back and another at wide receiver as a freshman but then did not see starting action again until 2020. … In a breakout season last fall, Toney started all 11 games catching 70 passes for 984 yards (14.1 avg.) and 10 touchdowns. He also ran 19 times for 161 yards (8.5 avg.) and another score. … Second-Team All-American and Second-Team All-SEC as a receiver in 2020. Was First-Team All-SEC as a returner. … Toney went to the Senior Bowl and earned the top receiver award for the American Team.

Pre-Draft Buzz: Toney has elite quickness and stop-and-start cutting ability. He played all over the formation at Florida, including Wildcat QB. … Reportedly had the strongest arm on the Gators roster. … Displayed the ability to return punts and kicks, including a punt return TD last fall. … Speed is not an issue for Toney, who ran a 4.37 40 at the Florida pro day. … The Athletic’s NFL Draft guide wrote that Toney “has a ‘great football IQ,’ according to former offensive coordinator Brian Johnson.” … Toney had a number of issues off the field and there are questions regarding his dedication to football with a side interest in rapping under the name “Yung Joka.” … The Ringer compares him to versatile former Florida star Percy Harvin writing, “Toney has explosive acceleration as a receiver and extraordinary elusiveness as a ballcarrier; he’s the type of playmaker opposing defenses have to game plan for.” … NFL.com’s player profile compares Toney to former Falcons and Titans slot receiver Harry Douglas, saying “His routes can look like one-on-one isolation basketball moves at times, but he has the ability to make instant cuts and break his routes off sharply. He could become a much more creative and consistent route runner in due time. He's an atypical NFL slot in some ways and is likely to do his best work in a scheme that allows him plenty of run-after-catch opportunities.” … Still raw as a route runner. … Toney is projected as a late first-round pick by most, including No. 28 overall to the Saints in NFL.com’s latest mock draft.

Why Toney fits the Patriots’ needs: Belichick has always had an affinity for unique offensive weapons, including the previous Gator fitting that description, Harvin. Toney isn’t necessarily in the exact mold of Harvin, but he brings a pretty unique, explosive skill set to the football field. Wide receiver (along with quarterback), probably remains New England’s No. 1 immediate need. Toney isn’t the prototypical No. 1 receiver but there is no questioning his upside and playmaking ability. He would bring explosive potential to the Patriots new-look offensive attack and could build a long-term rapport with whoever wins the QB job moving forward. Toney might also be a value-based option if Belichick were to trade down in the first round from No. 15 overall to somewhere in the 20s.

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