Kadarius Toney was the first-round pick of the New York Giants in 2021, but he may need to wait to get on the field regularly.
The New York Giants invested a first-round pick in one of the most electrifying receivers in the draft in Kadarius Toney. Yet it may take some time before his massive potential is realized at the highest level.
Indeed, The Athletic’s Dan Duggan wrote in a recent Giants mailbag that he expects New York to bring Toney along “slowly”, adding the former Florida star could be the starting punt returner but that his offensive snaps may be limited to specialized packages.
Giants fans may be disappointed should that prove to be the case. First-round picks are expected in most cases to be immediate contributors, though with Toney it will be little surprise if he finds his role limited initially.
Where does Toney fit with New York Giants wide receivers?
New York is not short of options in what is a talented receiver room. The Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a lucrative free-agent contract, and he will enter the season as their number one option.
Sterling Shepard spends a significant amount of time in the slot, providing an obstacle to Toney playing early snaps at that spot, while Darius Slayton will also be ahead of him on the depth chart having established himself as an exciting big-play threat.
The Giants, therefore, have no need to rush Toney, for whom the jump to the pros may be more difficult following a college career in which he had only one season of top-tier production.
That came last year as Toney racked up 1,145 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. Nine hundred and eighty-four of those came through the air, with Toney having never previously tallied more than 260 receiving yards in a season.
And, though the elasticity in his lower half enabled Toney to excel at creating separation and making dynamic plays after the catch for the Gators, he entered the draft amid some concerns over his tendency to freelance on routes and hinder the timing of the offense.
In a year where the Giants are under pressure to make a leap in the third year of quarterback Daniel Jones’ career, they cannot afford to have the offense consistently out of rhythm.
Timing problems can, of course, be ironed out over the course of training camp and preseason. However, given those issues and the experienced trio ahead of him on the depth chart, at this point, it appears Toney may see more action out of the backfield than as a receiver in the opening weeks of his NFL career.