The New York Giants turned heads last week when they traded down in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft and selected Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney at twenty overall. This was the exclamation point on a fantastic offseason that saw the Giants load up on offensive playmakers.
New York filled its major needs this offseason. They got their big-time, alpha-dog outside wide receiver in Kenny Golladay. They signed a dependable tight end who will not drop the ball in Kyle Rudolph. On defense, they signed a seriously talented outside cornerback to play opposite of James Bradberry in Adoree’ Jackson. They also drafted a speed rusher to beat down left tackles in Azeez Ojulari.
When the Giants drafted Kadarius Toney, the selection was almost looked at as a luxury pick. But, in actuality, the Giants were filling a crucial need with this draft selection. Sure, they already invested in the receiver position and already have a talented group of guys with Sterling Shepard in the slot and Darius Slayton as a deep threat. But what the Giants lacked was a playmaker who could accumulate yards after the catch. This is where Kadarius Toney excels.
The need that Kadarius Toney fills
According to Ben Linsey of Pro Football Focus, the New York Giants ranked dead last in the league with the fewest yards after the catch per reception in 2020 at 3.0 yards per. Not only did the Giants’ receivers struggle to separate from coverage last season, but they also struggled to make plays with the ball in their hands.
Kadarius Toney was the most explosive after-the-catch wide receiver in the 2021 NFL Draft. Kadarius Toney forced a missed tackle on 35% of touches since 2018, which was first among the 2021 wide receiver draft class (PFF). Toney forced 32 missed tackles on 80 catches the past two seasons (PFF).
Not only does Toney have reliable hands (only 3 drops on 150 targets in 2020), he gives the Giants the playmaking ability with the ball in his hands that no other receiver on their roster provides. Kadarius Toney is nearly impossible to tackle. He has elite contact balance, quickness/agility, speed, and vision. Anytime Toney has the ball in his hands he is a threat to take it to the end zone. Check out this insane leg-breaking move by Kadarius Toney:
This right here is INSANE.
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) May 6, 2021