September 20, 2021

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Kadarius Toney can be the missing piece in the…

4 min read
Kadarius Toney can be the missing piece in the...


After trading down from No. 11 to No. 20 in the 2021 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected Florida receiver Kadarius Toney. Everyone knows Toney for his speed in open space, hard cuts and elusive ball skills. The biggest question is how Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett can best use Toney in his offense?

First we should note that during Free Agency, the Giants picked up receiver John Ross from the Bengals, who currently holds the 40-time record in the combine (4.2). Kenny Golladay, WR,  from the Lions, who was one of the notable free agents this year and tight end Kyle Rudolph from the Vikings, who is a 10-year veteran with over 4,500 receiving yards and 48 touchdowns.

There is no surprise that the Giants plan on stretching the field this year with their new playmakers. According to floridagators.com, in Toney’s four years, he played 32 snaps in the backfield, 674 in the slot and 338 on the outside. He had 20 forced missed tackles which was 6th highest. 

This gadget back was the type of player the Giants were missing last year. They were 31st in first downs gained, yards per game and 28th in yards per play. There was one point in the season where Jason Garrett resulted in trick plays just to get the ball down the field; even tight end Evan Engram was involved in a reverse/end around. Last year, with Saquon Barkley out for most of the season, Dion Lewis was someone who looked to fill the role of the running back — he could line up outside, and return kicks.  

So when we ask ourselves how Jason Garrett is going to use Toney, we don’t have to look very far. Lewis was not re-signed by the Giants, and so when we look at his assignments, they are very similar to Toney’s skillset.

“We are going to look to play him to his strengths and so there’s going to be some things you’ll see that may look similar what to what he did in college, although it’s different systems,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said of Toney after Saturday’s minicamp practice. “So we are going to be looking to go ahead and make sure we create enough versatility in his game to play him in different spots to play him in our system, but also we’ll have to change our system like we do with everything to cater to our players.

“I can’t give you a definite answer until we get through training camp to see everything he can do and how it fits with other players on the field. I’m sure you’ll get some things that you can say, hey, that looks very similar to what he did in college, and you’ll see some other things that you can say, we’ve never seen that on tape before. But our focus right now is working with him on the field and identifying exactly how to use his skillet and putting him in the best position to be successful.”

On this play, we have Dion Lewis out of the backfield running a wheel route in the first clip, and in the second clip, Toney is running the exact same play. 

Now moving into the slot, Lewis runs a whip-type of route to create separation in the middle of the field; in the second clip, we have Toney putting his personal touch on a similar route.

The differences between Lewis and Toney are speed and catching the ball. 

Toney has the receiving skills against man to man to go get the ball. On several occasions he was forced to step up and snag a ball early catching the defense over the top off guard.

Since Toney was a quarterback in high school, he has instincts to know when to extend his route, continually fighting to get open over the middle.

A receiver like Toney creates space off the ball as well which leaves vertical guys like Golladay and Ross one-on-one downfield.

From the backfield, Toney attacks the outside linebacker, creating a mismatch, which then grabs the attention of the strong safety to come help.

So we know Toney as a receiver, now lets see what he can do when the ball is in his hands from the backfield. At Florida, the offense would come out in an empty look and then Toney motion’s into the backfield and takes a handoff with momentum on his side.

Garrett has so many options with Toney but the main objective is to give him the ball in open space. There will be times we will see Toney as a receiver lined up in bunch formation to give him immediate space at the snap of the ball for bubble screens, route concepts and switches. In slot, up the seam taking pressure off the other receivers on the outside.

All in all, Toney should provide an immediate impact for the Giants offense whether that’s lining up outside, in the backfield (21 personnel) or motioning him at the snap to-and-from those spots, this will be a high-motor, high-flying offense.

How the Giants can open their offense up with rookie receiver Kadarius Toney