GREEN BAY, Wis. – Once upon a time, the Green Bay Packers had Randall Cobb as their slot receiver and returner. In 2020, even as they led the NFL in scoring, they threw unanswered Hail Mary’s to Tyler Ervin and Tavon Austin in hopes of getting production from the slot and as a returner.
While the Packers topped 30 points in 12 games and Aaron Rodgers won MVP honors, Davante Adams’ overwhelming dominance and the occasional big plays provided by Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard camouflaged the relative weakness of the team’s receiver corps.
Enter Florida’s Kadarius Toney, who was the Packers’ pick in Drae Harris’ mock draft for The Draft Network.
Toney, as Harris put it, is one of the most dynamic receivers in this year’s draft. His do-it-all skill-set would give Matt LaFleur’s offense the X-factor it lacked. Like Cobb during his collegiate days at Kentucky, Toney has some quarterback background and is a weapon as a receiver, running back and returner.
As a receiver, he caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a runner, he carried 19 times for 161 yards and one touchdown. He added a pedestrian 22.1-yard average on kickoff returns but a superb 12.6-yard average with one touchdown on punt returns.
“He’s a slot receiver, he’s taking handoffs on jet sweeps, he’s lining up split-out wide. Toney was a playmaker; and his juice with the ball in his hands would be a welcome addition to an offense sorely lacking playmakers,” wrote The Draft Scout’s Matt Miller in slotting Toney to Washington at No. 19 in his mock draft.
“And unlike many of the speedy receivers in the draft, Toney has the strength and physicality to handle the role. This isn’t an undersized slot receiver but a well-built offensive weapon.”
At the Senior Bowl, he measured 5-foot-11 1/8 and 189 pounds. He was named the wide receiver of the week at the all-star game.
While not a polished route-runner, he has a rare combination of quickness and change-of-direction ability that makes him a nightmare with the ball in his hands. He ranked fifth in the nation among receivers with 20 forced missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus. PFF charged him with only three drops on 123 career receptions.
Injuries are a question that will play a role in just where he lands in the draft. He missed six games in 2019 due to a shoulder injury and four games in 2017 due to a myriad of ailments. Scouts will want to ask him about the arrest in which a loaded AR-15 was found in his car.
“Kadarius Toney is an electrifying playmaker with rare quickness and acceleration but needs to improve his hands to become a greater threat downfield,” reads his scouting report at Expand the Box Score. “Toney best fits in a West Coast spread scheme as a playmaker who gets the ball in unique ways.”
The Packers picked up an offensive lineman and cornerback in the second and third rounds.