Where Might Gators WR Kadarius Toney be Selected in the 2021 NFL Draft?

After an unbelievable fourth season with the Gators, receiver Kadarius Toney is positioned to be selected high in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Author:
Publish date:

As the 2021 NFL Draft inches closer, there will be plenty of rumors and scuttlebutt about various prospects, including those graduating from the University of Florida.

In 2020, the Florida Gators delivered one of the most-prolific offenses in SEC history, breaking numerous records amidst one of the most complex and complicated seasons to date due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

With that, Florida saw many weapons shine bright throughout the season, with tight end Kyle Pitts becoming one of the best tight ends in FBS history, quarterback Kyle Trask becoming a Heisman finalist and much more.

One player, however, stood out the most, perhaps due to his uncanny ability to make a player miss in the open field, providing some of the most highlight-worthy, College Gameday clips to date. That player is senior receiver Kadarius Toney who has seen the most unlikely climb a former Florida athlete has seen within the NFL ranks.

Toney, officially listed at 5-foot-11, 189 pounds at the senior bowl did not begin his career as a collegiate athlete as perfectly well as he'd probably like. Marred with various injuries throughout his career, he simply wasn't able to get going, likely a frustrating spot to be in as an NFL hopeful.

During his first three seasons at Florida, Toney managed just 50 receptions for 606 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. He added 47 carries for 419 yards and a rushing touchdown. He played in just 27 games in his first three seasons, including just seven during his junior campaign.

While Toney contemplated entering the 2020 NFL Draft, he ultimately decided it would be best for him to return; and he was right.

In the 2020-21 season, Toney flashed all of the talents and brilliance spectators had seen in spurts during his first three seasons. A more complete receiver, he was able to manage a staggering 70 receptions for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns, leading the team in receiving.

He also added 19 rushing attempts for 161 yards and a touchdown. Becoming the primary return specialist for the team, Toney contributed seven kick returns for 155 yards and 11 punt returns for 139 yards and a touchdown, too, becoming an all-around complete player.

Now, after being perceived as a middling late-round prospect at the end of his junior year, Toney is receiving plenty of praise as a complete receiver, and football player, as a potential first-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft.

With that said, where could Toney land as he makes his way into the NFL?

Washington Football Team - Round 1 (No. 19 overall)

The Washington Football Team has been a hot franchise to watch for Toney's services. As recently as this week, ESPN's Mel Kiper selected Toney to the Football Team at No. 19 overall, pairing him with receiver Terry McLaurin and rookie breakout running back Antonio Gibson.

Toney would be an intriguing fit within the Football Team's offense. He gives the team another do-it-all player similar to Gibson at running back, simply at the receiver position. While the quarterback situation remains unknown, WFT is in desperate need of more receiver talent within the offense.

Toney would be a great fit for the football team and his selection at No. 19 overall would project nicely with where he is currently ranked among the class of 2021 receivers.  

Indianapolis Colts - Round 1 (No. 21)

It seems like a trend at this point for the Colts to be in desperate need of a quarterback as they've now lost veteran quarterback Phillip Rivers to retirement. The Colts, however, also are in need of help at the receiver position.

While Indianapolis selected Michael Pittman Jr. in the second round of last year's draft, their best receiver, T.Y. Hilton is a free agent and will likely be lost to a contending team, or simply a team more willing to pay Hilton what he wants as far as compensation.

If Hilton doesn't return, the Colts will certainly need a replacement as the depth at the position is thin, especially among proven commodities. Toney would fit well in a similar role to Hilton, that of an inside-out receiver with plenty of downfield ability.   

San Francisco 49ers - Round 1 (No. 12), Round 2 (No. 43)

This seems obvious. The 49ers have often used playmaking offensive weapons disguised as receivers in tight ends since Kyle Shananahn took the job in 2017.

The offense is predicated on short-area quickness and a west-coast style, allowing receivers to get open seemingly with ease. Due to its scheme, the 49ers have allowed receivers such as Deebo Samuel and Brandon Ayiuk to thrive, becoming swiss-army knives for whatever quarterback is throwing in their direction.

Yet another team with some issues at quarterback, this could actually be a fine landing spot for Toney as he will likely be incorporated within an offense that he doesn't have to immediately take over for.

Developmental time has proven fruitful for Toney in the past, and there is no reason to think he couldn't do so with the 49ers in the future.   

With pick No. 12, it is unlikely Toney is chosen that high due to the depth at the top with the receiver position. However, if the 49ers opt to trade down in the first round or up in the second round, they could find themselves in a good position to select the former Florida receiver.

Kansas City Chiefs  - Round 1 (No. 31)

The Chiefs are familiar with big-play threats at the receiver position. In an offense featuring perhaps the fastest receiver in the NFL in Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs could pair another explosive weapon within its offense, selecting a former SEC offensive playmaker for the second year straight in the first round.

There are no quarterback issues with the Chiefs; the team still fields one of the best in the game in quarterback Patrick Mahomes. While the team is coming off of a heartbreaking loss in the Super Bowl to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, its offense should be humming during the 2021 season.

Toney would add another element, allowing the Chiefs to use all of its weapons in kind. Toney has also been known to do a piece sign or two, similar to Hill.

Other teams worth monitoring: New York Giants, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens.