The Jacksonville Jaguars selected running back Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft but if former head coach Urban Meyer had had it his way, they would have taken wide receiver Kadarius Toney. Unfortunately, the New York Giants took him five spots ahead at No. 20. Looking back, this might have worked out in the Jags’ favor.
Pat Leonard of The NY Daily News reports the Giants are looking to trade Toney after just one year. Leonard says the wide receiver’s commitment came into question last year “due to lack of playbook study, poor meeting behavior and frequent injuries”. To add insult to injury, Toney hasn’t shown up to New York’s offseason program, which could have played a role in their decision to shop him.
Last season, Toney appeared in 10 games with four starts and hauled in 39 receptions for 420 yards with no touchdowns. The Florida product showed had a few flashes but the issues Leonard mentioned, along with a series of injuries, held him back. The G-Men have probably have seen enough of Toney and since the current regime inherited him, they made it known they are ready to move on from him.
After the 2021 draft, Meyer made headlines when he said he wanted to take Toney, whom he described as a “human highlight reel“. It’s hard to say Etienne was the better selection, as he missed his rookie campaign with a Lisfranc injury. Similarly, Toney might not have been a fit with the Giants and a change of scenery could help him get back on track.
Would Kadarius Toney have struggled with the Jaguars?
Keep in mind that the Jaguars were a mess under Meyer last year, so Toney might have had a hard time flourishing in Jacksonville too. Could they have used him? Certainly, the Jags ranked 32nd in points scored and lacked playmakers. Toney would have given Trevor Lawrence another target.
Having said that, Toney’s character issues are a cause for concern, and although he still has time to turn the narrative around and become a solid pro, he isn’t off to a great start. Teams that liked him but didn’t draft him could be interested in trading for him and untapping his potential, so he will most likely get a chance to get his career on track.
Ultimately, it may be too early to call Toney a bust but looking at how things have played out early in his career, the Jaguars probably dodged a bullet.