With Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers have one of the NFL’s premier receivers. The supporting cast isn’t great and lacks a pure slot threat, but Allen Lazard brings size and physicality, Marquez Valdes-Scantling is a premier deep threat and Devin Funchess is back after being a COVID opt-out. While Adams presumably will be given a contract extension, Valdes-Scantling, Funchess and Equanimeous St. Brown will be unrestricted free agents at this time next year. That means Green Bay, at least, needs to add a receiver or two to get ready for what could be an offseason of change in 2022. Note: In the 16 drafts conducted by Ted Thompson and Brian Gutekunst, Randall Cobb was the shortest receiver selected at 5-foot-10 1/4. Thus, any receiver shorter than 5-foot-10 (no rounding) will not be considered in our series.
Florida’s Kadarius Toney is our No. 3-ranked receiver.
The rap against the Green Bay Packers’ receiver corps is it doesn’t have a natural slot threat or a player capable of bringing life to the jet sweep.
Enter Yung Joka, aka Florida receiver Kadarius Toney.
When not lighting up SEC offenses, Toney is an aspiring rapper. He started in fifth or sixth grade but stepped up a notch upon arriving at Florida. After the Gators won the Orange Bowl last year, Toney opened for hip-hop artist Lil Keed in Miami.
"I will say the music actually keeps me balanced and it helps me express how I feel about things and get in touch with other people,'' Toney told the school Web site. "I've seen my music touch people and affect them in a positive way. That keeps me motivated and neutral about a lot of things."
While rapping is a hobby that might have some scouts concerned, ripping defenses with big plays is his passion. His senior season was absurdly good. He caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns, rushed 19 times for 161 yards and one touchdown, and averaged 12.6 yards per punt return with one touchdown and 21.6 yards on a handful of kickoff returns.
It was a monster season after playing in only seven games due to injuries in 2019.
"It's just really the mindset that evolved over the time I was injured,'' Toney said. "It just made me look at a whole different aspect of the game and what I got to do to get better and how to improve myself. I just took that and focused on what I needed to focus on.
"On my end, it was like I felt I was letting people down because I know what I bring to the game,'' he continued. "To see my teammates out there playing, I felt like I was letting those guys down. That's why I ended with a big bang after I came back from my injury. I was just so full of energy and ready to get at it."
Toney wrapped up his collegiate career at the Senior Bowl. A day before the game, the native of Mobile, Ala., had his jersey retired at Blount High School. A dual-threat quarterback, he passed for 8,200 yards and rushed for 2,400 yards.
Toney arrived at Florida as a quarterback and might have the strongest arm on the team – even with NFL-bound quarterback Kyle Trask leading the team.
"He's an amazing, not just athlete but I think, one of the things that's changed about him this year that everybody can see is, he went from a guy that was a playmaker into a guy that is an every-down, one of the best wide receivers in the country," coach Dan Mullen told SI.com.
Known as a “human joystick,” Toney made a lot of highlight plays. A 47-yard run against Florida State ranks among his favorites. The play showed his ability to break tackles – he ranked fifth in the nation with 20, according to Pro Football Focus, elusiveness and speed.
“The most memorable play that I’ve made,” he said. “Everything happened so fast. I didn’t even know what I was doing. Everything was just so quick and spontaneous. It was like, ‘Wow.’ I surprise myself with different moves.
“When I see that (on tape), it’s mind blowing that I really can do that. I’m just as surprised as the fans, overwhelmed in a way. But I’ve been playing the same way since I was knee-high. I’ve just always been that guy.”
In July 2018, an AR-15 was found in his car during a traffic stop.
Measureables: 5-foot-11 1/8, 189 pounds at Senior Bowl. 9 1/2-inch hands. Pro day: March 31.
Stats and accolades: In four seasons, Toney caught 120 passes for 1,590 yards (13.3 average) and 12 touchdowns and added 580 rushing yards (8.8 average). Most of the receiving production came as a senior, when he caught 70 balls for 984 yards and 10 scores as he was named to the all-SEC first team as an all-purpose player.
NFL Draft Bible says: Possessing ridiculous flexibility, suddenness and change of direction, there are few defenders, let alone humans that are able to match and mirror Toney’s movements. He is explosive in-and-out of his breaks. If given free access, he can beat most defenders in a foot race. His speed makes it extremely difficult to stick with him on crossing routes. Pair his flexibility with very quick feet, which enables him to set up defenders at the top of his routes and you have a nightmare matchup in man coverage. At Florida, Toney gets plenty of manufactured touches such as screens and end arounds. Toney will primarily be a slot receiver who can be motioned all over the field and requires a high number of touches to capitalize on his ability to be a dangerous ball-carrier.
About This Series
Packer Central is introducing you to the top prospects, both on and off the field, in this year’s NFL Draft. The series is starting with the top five at each position, then will add additional players as the draft approaches, with a focus on positions of need.