Giants’ 25 most important players ranking: No.23 deserves the chance to prove minicamp noise was overkill
the giants will show up at training camp on July 27 to kick off the 2021 season, Joe Judge’s second year as a coach. Expectations are high after Dave Gettleman’s spending spree out of season.
In the 25 days leading up to training camp, NJ Advance Media will count the 25 most important players for the 2021 season.
That is to say: the players who will be the most important for the success of the team this coming season.
Next up: a rookie wide receiver who had a … weird feeling on his debut with the Giants.
First of all, Kadarius Toney couldn’t find the right sneakers in the rookie minicamp. He spent much of his first Giants practice jumping in one shoe.
He skipped voluntary OTAs, which is unusual for a rookie, especially a first-round pick, even though he had yet to officially sign his contract.
In minicamp with the whole team, he slipped several times during training and had to leave early.
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It’s been an odd spring for the Giants’ first-round pick, but it’s still far too early to worry about what that means for his future with the Giants. In reporting NJ Advance Media’s profile on Toney after it was written, his loved ones – coaches, family and others – all spoke out about his training habits.
“What he did was raise the bar in training,” Florida wide receiver coach Billy Gonzales, who also coached Percy Harvin, told NJ Advance Media. “You like to coach players who you don’t have to motivate every day. He’s very motivated and he takes things so personal. He wants to be tall. You watch him go one on one, and his work ethic when he does training drills, when he does a route, when he completes the route. Two strikes and a spin, that’s what we talk about after he catches a ball. He does it all. You like to coach players like that who are motivated, who want to be great, and they put in the action to be great. “
Now the NFL is a different ball game, of course. Toney is a professional, single, who earns millions of dollars. If it didn’t work out with Toney, it wouldn’t be the first time something like this had happened to an NFL rookie.
But it is too early to worry.
And there’s a reason the Giants drafted him in the first round: They believe in his talent.
Here’s a closer look at Toney and why he registers at No.23 on this list.
(PREVIOUS VERSIONS: # 25 RB Devontae Booker, # 24 DT Austin Johnson.)
who: Kadarius Toney
Position: Large Receiver / Returner
How he did in 2020: Toney finally broke in his final year in Florida, racking up 70 catches for 984 yards and 11 total touchdowns – plus an extra punt return touchdown – after getting just 50 catches for 606 yards and three affected in total in his first three seasons combined.
He was sixth nationally for yards received in the slot (784 yards) in 2020 and caught seven of nine passes thrown over 20 yards from the field, according to Focus on professional football.
Toney didn’t get as much attention in the first three years for several reasons, not least because he was used in a multidimensional role – running back, catcher, returner – and dealt with injuries.
Why it is important: The Giants were already a long way off as wide receiver before drafting Toney – adding Kenny Golladay to a squad that already has Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton will – but teams don’t select players in the first round unless they don’t ‘intend to use them.
Toney may not be dominating receiver snaps, but the Giants brought him in to add a dimension to the offense they didn’t really have before, and he’s a jack-of-all-trades type of player. -anything that can line up anywhere. In the long run, he’s likely Shepard’s replacement in the slot, but for now, offensive coordinator Jason Garrett will need to find ways to get his speed and explosiveness back after taking the field.
Toney is also probably the best candidate to succeed Jabrill Peppers as a punt returner, which gives him added importance.
The Giants’ season won’t make or break if Toney is ready to live up to his draft window, but he can certainly help take offense to the next level.
(By the way: the whole fuss about Toney lining up with the second team during the minicamp is overkill. He’s still learning the playbook and the Giants have three other receivers locked as a starter. It was a luxury choice, not necessarily a need.)
He said it: “He was a guy I never had to worry about being on time. He showed up to train every day. He came to train ready to work. Took care of his academics. He was seated in the front row of every special team meeting. He was seated in the front row of every position meeting. It’s fair, it’s hard. When you know you get a guy with athletic abilities like that who’s willing to do extra things like that to put him in a position to learn, I think that’s when you know you get someone special. – Gonzales to NJ Advance Media in May.
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