Shaka Toney represented Penn State at the Senior Bowl last week, showcasing coverage skills and position flexibility in addition to his pass-rush ability at defensive end.
Penn State coach James Franklin called Toney "deceptively strong" and a player who will bring an "unbelievable football IQ" to the NFL.
So how did Toney perform at the Senior Bowl? Vinnie Calderone of NFL Draft Bible and The Final Count spent the week in Mobile and left impressed with Toney's versatility. Here's Calderone's scouting report.
Of all the defensive ends who came to Mobile, Ala., for the Senior Bowl, Penn State's Shaka Toney undoubtedly was one with a lot to prove. After a slow year production-wise in 2020, he had to show NFL teams why they should take a chance on him.
It’s no secret that NFL teams draft based on traits, and that will be the case with Toney. Quickness off the line and an ability to get pressure on the quarterback are some of Toney’s most highly rated features. Let’s take a closer look at his week in Mobile, what he did well, and where he can improve.
Toney weighed 238 pounds and measured at just over 6-2. If he does make the transition to linebacker in the pros, it’s crucial to have a leaner frame. Toney added some unexpected power rushes to his arsenal in Mobile. He had a good push and drove the offensive tackle into the pocket in 1-on-1 drills.
His lower body looked strong, and he used his legs well in his bull rush. The bend while pursuing the quarterback showed flashes of excellence, as Toney used his balance to get up the field.
Toney showed some positives in pass coverage and gave teams something to think about if they decide to use him as an outside linebacker. In one rep during the pass-coverage period of practice, Toney ran stride for stride with Boise State’s John Bates. That showed he can do a little bit of everything on defense. The ability to play two different positions will certainly boost his draft stock.
It would have been good to see more finesse in his rushes. Toney did not use his hands as much as scouts would have liked. At Penn State, Toney relied on his hands in most rushes, a trait scouts love. When edge rushers rely too much on their lower bodies, offensive tackles adapt and adjust accordingly.
Toney's measurables were perfect if he decides to switch to outside linebacker, but there is some worry he may lose his quick burst if he chooses to put on weight and stay at defensive end.
Toney solidified himself as one of the top versatile pass rushers at the Senior Bowl. The obvious question of his position switch will loom large in the coming months, but there is no doubt that Toney has discussed this with scouts and front-office personnel while attending meetings in Mobile. Nonetheless, the NFL team that drafts Toney will get a workhorse who shows signs of dominance in pass rush and has the lateral ability to be a productive run stopper.
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