Giants Rookie Kadarius Toney Is Quickly Forcing His Team’s Fingers to Approach Hitting the Panic Button
The New York Giants wanted to add a dynamic, game-changing receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft. They compromised. They selected Florida Gators standout Kadarius Toney with the 20th overall pick.
In fairness to Toney, he dazzled as an all-purpose weapon with the Gators in 2020 and had emerged as a likely first-round pick during the pre-draft process. However, it’d be kind saying the first-year wideout is off to a slow start with the Giants. In fact, things are quickly getting far worse before they have a chance at improving.
Kadarius Toney missed the Giants’ preseason opener with an injury
One of the knocks against Toney during the pre-draft process was his durability. The explosive receiver battled several injuries in college and missed six games with a left shoulder ailment in 2019.
Things haven’t changed to start his NFL career. The first-round pick missed the Giants’ preseason opener against the New York Jets with an unspecified injury. Toney previously missed time in training camp after going on the COVID-19 list.
Toney did not work out on the field before the game or appear on the sidelines at any point. Star running back Saquon Barkley was among the inactive players present on the sideline in the Giants’ 12-7 loss. Giants head coach Joe Judge said after the game that injured players didn’t need to stand on the sidelines.
Unfortunately for the Giants, they’re yet to see a great deal of Toney in a helmet and jersey. Throughout the offseason, he’s missed time for a cleat problem, his contract, a family emergency, and now the recent issues with COVID and the injury.
The Giants need to start being extremely concerned about Toney’s development
The preseason is a time of overreactions, especially with rookies. Some Giants fans may have even considered using the dreaded “bust” word when thinking about Toney.
As dangerous as Toney stands a chance of being when he hits the field, the concerns are popping up at a rapid pace. The cleat problem involving a wrong-sized shoe at a rookie minicamp in May was ridiculous to the point of laughing at it. Few guessed at the time that it might have literally hinted at him beginning his career off on the wrong foot.
Things haven’t improved, and it was a bad sign when he sat out of practice over his rookie contract. Rookies usually participate in minicamp and organized team activities even if they haven’t officially signed their contract yet. Judge, for his part, hadn’t publicly criticized Toney over the various roadblocks thus far as of publication.
All of this will be forgotten if Toney comes out blazing out of the gate and gives opposing defenses fits as that frightening all-purpose weapon. However, there’s nothing yet to indicate that he’ll even see significant snaps in Week 1 and get an opportunity to prove his value. He’s missing valuable reps and opportunities to develop in an NFL offense.
At least Toney can take some semblance of solace knowing he’s not the only rookie wideout dealing with an injury right now. DeVonta Smith, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and 10th overall pick who plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, suffered a knee sprain during camp. The Baltimore Ravens are without Rashod Bateman, the 27th overall pick, for at least the remainder of the preseason following groin surgery.
The Giants may soon regret taking Toney over Elijah Moore
As early as things are in the process, the Giants may already be regretting not selecting a different standout SEC receiver.
The Jets selected Elijah Moore, who starred at Ole Miss, early in the second round. Moore, who totaled 86 catches for 1,193 yards and eight touchdowns in his final year with the Rebels, dominated throughout his first summer with the Jets.
Moore, like Toney, missed the preseason opener with an injury. However, the 34th overall pick is expected to recover from his quad injury in time before the season begins. Moore is an early contender to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year if he can avoid having that ailment linger throughout the season.
Considering how many things the Jets have gotten wrong over the years, it’d certainly be something if they got one over on the Giants. That alone should be a reason for the Giants to hope Toney gets better soon and establishes himself as the weapon that Daniel Jones desperately needs in his arsenal.
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