2021 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Edge Shaka Toney, Penn State

How strong of a Day 3 value is Penn State edge rusher Shaka Toney? Nick Falato gives his take.
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EDGE SHAKA TONEY 

Height: 6'2"
Weight: 242 lbs.
Class: Senior (red shirt) 
School: Penn State


A former three-star recruit out of Imhotep Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Toney was the 57th WDE prospect in the 2016 cycle, arriving on campus at around 210 pounds. He was the Class AAA Defensive Player of the Year in high school as a senior with 21 sacks. He was a vocal leader at Penn State and was a team captain.

He appeared in 47 games at Penn State and started 22 of them. He finished his time with 111 tackles, 28.5 for a loss, 20 sacks, four passes defended, and four forced fumbles. According to Pro Football Focus, he had 117 total pressures as a Nittany Lion: 31 in his redshirt freshman season, 20 the next year, 43 as a junior, and 23 as a senior, playing alongside Jayson Oweh, who failed to record a sack that year.

Toney finishes his time at Penn State as the eighth leading sack artist of all time. He was All Big-10 First Team in 2020 and All Big-10 Second Team in 2019. Earned a trip down to Mobile, Alabama, where Toney competed in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. His time at the event was adequately spent, but I saw length issues that may cap his upside.

At Penn State’s pro day, according to PFF, Toney performed 24 reps on the bench (66th percentile), ran a 4.51 (95th percentile), with a 1.54 10-yard-split (97th percentile) which is not a surprise when you see his tape. He also ran 6.95 3-cone (88th percentile), ran a 4.28 in the shuttle (78th percentile), jumped 39” in the vertical (95th percentile), and 128” in the broad (96th percentile).

Traits

A short pass rusher whose length seems much less than the measurements (33” arms, 82⅛” wingspan). Toney has a slighter frame, and he’s not physically imposing. Does possess good overall athletic ability that is highlighted by a quick first step that can be inconsistent and some impressive movement skills in tight quarters. Uses good short-area quickness to close width and make plays on the football.

Toney can change direction quickly, moves fluidly with his lateral transitions, and possesses a low center of gravity with a solid bend. He becomes slippery in run defense and gets skinny/horizontal through double teams if he wins with quickness. Play strength is adequate, but he’s not taking on double team blocks--that’s not his game.

He is more of a high motor winner than someone who possesses the ability to win one-on-one consistently. He possesses very good competitive toughness when all things are clicking, but there are times where he disappeared, and he wasn’t winning. His lack of size affects his anchoring ability and his ability to set the edge consistently. Maybe more of a situational pass rusher early on in his career.

Juice off the edge, combined with active hands, allow him to gain advantages against tackles on occasion. Can threaten the arc and flatten at the top with good bend through contact. He gets low and maintains a low base as he turns the corner and gets his hips pointed towards the pocket.

Pass rush plan is good, and he has a lot of moves, and he does attempt an inside counter spin move that is also solid. I wish he had a more effective bull-rush or ability to convert his speed to power, but his play strength is adequate at best.

He does a good job using his hands to locate optimal spots to disengage against offensive tackles. He uses his very good quickness and upfield burst to challenge tackles and stress the offense.

Quick change of direction ability and burst allowed him to have success on stunts/twists. He stays horizontal and keeps his chest narrow while staying low and working well through traffic.

Overall, Toney is an undersized pass-rushing specialist who knows how to put pressure on the quarterback. He has the athletic traits, bend, and ability to string moves together to win at the point of attack in a power five conference. 

I wish he seized the Senior Bowl a bit more. Still, Toney could be a solid addition late on Day 3 as a player who can execute special teams assignments and possibly work his way onto the defensive field by mid-season in pass-rushing situations. 


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