According to NFL.com’s Chad Reuter, the Indianapolis Colts are projected to fill a number of long-term holes in his new three round 2021 NFL Mock Draft—with their first selection coming after a trade down with the Cleveland Browns (going from pick #21 to #26):
26 Indianapolis Colts
Kadarius Toney · WR
PROJECTED TRADE WITH BROWNS
School: Florida | Year: Senior
It seems unlikely the Colts will find a quarterback in the 20s who can step in and immediately replace the retired Phillip Rivers. If T.Y. Hilton hits the open market, Toney’s quickness off the line of scrimmage and elusiveness with the ball in his hands will make him a solid replacement.
54 Indianapolis Colts
Samuel Cosmi · OT
School: Texas | Year: Junior (RS)
84 Indianapolis Colts
Tyson Campbell · CB
School: Georgia | Year: Junior
Regarding Toney, the 5’11”, 189 pound senior Florida Gators wideout recorded 70 receptions for 984 receiving yards (14.1 ypr. avg.) and 10 touchdown receptions during 11 starts.
He also rushed 19 times for 161 total rushing yards (averaging 8.5 yards per carry) and a rushing touchdown.
Toney additionally made his mark on special teams, returning 7 kickoffs for 155 total kickoff yards (22.1 yards per return avg.) and 11 punts for 139 total punt yards (12.6 yards per return avg.) and a touchdown return.
He earned First-Team All-SEC honors in 2020 at wide receiver.
“Toney is a versatile, explosive playmaker. He lines up in the slot and does a lot of damage on fly sweeps and seam routes. His combination of play strength, burst and wiggle makes him difficult to get on the ground once the ball is in his hands. He doesn’t run a wide variety of routes, but he has the skill set to develop in that area. He’s dangerous in the return game because of his athleticism and lack of fear. Overall, Toney isn’t quite as big as Deebo Samuel, but I envision him playing the same role at the next level.”
Here’s what else they’re saying:
Kadarius Toney is in the 1st Round discussion, IMO— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) December 21, 2020
I am blown away by how @CoachDanMullen has used Toney in 2020. Look at these alignments vs Alabama on Saturday! Used all over the formation
Sharp Routes ✅
Explosive Acceleration ✅
Vertical Weapon ✅
Tough + Elusive YAC ✅ pic.twitter.com/XoWNgqVE9t
Kadarius Toney - I don’t know what was more wicked the route or the YAC Holy moly.— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) October 5, 2020
Route running has gotten so much sharper in 2020. Didn’t have a defined role in the past - gadget designs/backfield alignments
Lookin like a true slot WR! pic.twitter.com/FVaAHnUEmR
Man I LOVE Kadarius Toney.— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) February 7, 2021
He has elite start-stop ability that allows him to create unreal explosive plays.
I've said it before, but as a deep threat slot option in Matt Canada's offense, it's hard to imagine a better fit than Toney for that role. pic.twitter.com/msXdEsPbxw
There just aren’t many people in the world that can move the way Kadarius Toney can. He can do too much at times, but when he’s pairing extra moves and changes of speed/direction, cornerbacks can’t help but be uncomfortable. So dangerous #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/lfIh9yKaqD— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) January 27, 2021
Kadarius Toney has borderline unbelievable balance, agility and elusiveness. There just aren’t many humans who move the way he moves. Full scouting report on the potential first-round pick @Drafttek: https://t.co/N13henjD48— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) February 5, 2021
The development of Kadarius Toney this year has been great. He went from being mostly a gadget/manufactured touch type of slot WR to being a legit threat as a route runner.— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) December 5, 2020
Team fit will be big for him though.
WR Kadarius Toney has a special skill: he makes a lot of defenders look like they've never tackled before. #Florida— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) October 3, 2020
Kadarius Toney. D’Wayne Eskridge. Amari Rodgers.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) January 27, 2021
If you need speedy playmakers at wide receiver, they’re here.
Kadarius Toney is my dude. I love this guys ability— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 20, 2020
Kadarius Toney had 20 receiving missed tackles forced this season— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) February 2, 2021
5th most in college football pic.twitter.com/23BtqXma9N
Kadarius Toney across four seasons at Florida— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 2, 2021
3 drops pic.twitter.com/6stCNcqGMg
Now, after reading this, it sounds like Toney is similar in playing style and skill-set to soon-to-be third-year Colts wideout Parris Campbell, who was a second round pick in 2019, but has been severely limited by injuries to start his early career.
He’s a bit of a ‘gadget’ wideout, who naturally excels in the slot, and is a dynamic playmaker with the football in his hands—whether rushing or running after the catch.
That’s why I have a tough time thinking the Colts may go after Toney this early in the draft, because I’m not sure general manager Chris Ballard has given up on Campbell quite yet—who has a potential big breakout 2021 season ahead of him and desperately needs to stay healthy.
That being said, the Colts offense lacks playmakers. Toney makes moves as a route-runner that simply cannot be taught athletically, and he’s an elusive playmaker after the catch.
With Indy veteran T.Y. Hilton set to become a free agent and far from a sure thing to return, the Colts could use another long-term answer at wide receiver—especially with Campbell’s injury history complicating matters. Toney is a playmaker and would help in that regard, adding much needed speed and playmaking to the Colts receiving corps.
“The 6’7”, 309 pound offensive tackle has made 35 straight starts for the Longhorns—with 21 of those starts at left tackle. He earned 2nd-Team All-Big 12 honors for Texas during 2019 and moves pretty well for a big man of his sheer size.”
“Regarding Campbell, the 6’2”, 185 pound junior cornerback for the Georgia Bulldogs, recorded 29 tackles (20 solo), 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 interception, and 5 pass breakups during 10 starts in 2020.”
All three of these talented prospects would fill major long-term positional holes for the Colts going forward—with each having a chance to start immediately during 2021 (especially in Cosmi’s case).