When the New York Giants moved back with the Chicago Bears to the 20th overall pick, most thought they might targeting an offensive lineman to solve their vacant right guard spot. However, the Giants, while passing on a lineman, still added an offensive playmaker to help quarterback Daniel Jones in 2021.
Jones threw just 11 touchdown passes in his second season, less than half of what he accrued in 2019 with Pat Shurmur as his head coach.
The Giants landed Kadarius Toney with the 20th overall pick acquired from Chicago, and while some might see this as a “reach,” other executives around the NFL believe he’s one of the top playmakers in this draft class. There were some who believed he would be available in the second round, but the Giants didn’t hesitate to capture the “human joystick,” who has an NFL scouting grade of 6.36, indicating he will be a starter within his first two seasons in the NFL.
Kadarius toney was HIGHLY regarded by a ton of high-level NFL execs and the Giants got him — REALLY great add based on the feedback. https://t.co/SUxRZWmf4Q
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) May 1, 2021
Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer even expressed his distraught with Kadarius going 20th overall and not dropping to the Jaguars. At 6’0″ and 193 pounds, Toney is a slot talent who plays a lot bigger than his listed size. With incredible center of gravity and quick-twitch movements, he almost always makes the first defender miss in the open field, and with shifty route running, he can take a catch to the house at any moment.
Specifically, with the Giants, who operated under a vanilla scheme last year with Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator, I believe they will take a step forward in 2021. Hiring LSU secret weapon Russ Callaway to help build a more downfield offense and adding Kenny Golliday, who stated his confidence in the “vision” of the offense, should contribute toward a more productive unit.
“I liked the vision that Coach Joe Judge had and Jason Garrett, as far as the offense, and I was all the way in,” Golladay said after signing with Big Blue. “That had me right there. And just walking around the building, everybody greeting me and with them pretty much telling me that they wanted me here and I’m expressing the same thing. It was kind of like a no-brainer and I’m glad it worked out.”
We’ve all heard the analytics annotating Daniel Jones’ downfield accuracy, and with Toney’s speed and elusiveness, they cannot only target him up the seams but also on crossing and slant routes toward the middle of the field where Jones is also accurate.
Ultimately, Big Blue is clearly all-in on Daniel, all the while building a contingency plan with more draft capital next off-season. They finally changed their philosophy to add more value and draft assets moving forward, which is exactly what they needed to do with Jones still a big question.
Circling back to Kadarius, he has plenty of upside as a route runner and playmaker, totaling 1,145 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns last year in 11 appearances. He averaged 14.1 yards per reception and added 161 rushing yards to his totals.
He can be utilized as a gadget player out of the backfield on end-arounds and jet sweeps, all the while projecting as a high-end slot receiver who can also bounce to the outside in multiple formations. Considering the Giants have Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepherd, Evan Engram, and Toney all able to align at multiple spots, they can get very creative with their route concepts.
At the end of the day, it boils down to Jason Garrett and how he develops this offense, but adding a few high-end offensive assistants to help create a more downfield-centric and creative scheme should spur a progressive mentality.