The Patriots need a quick, explosive slot receiver who can consistently get open for Mac Jones. It’s why so many believe Alabama’s John Metchie III could hear New England call his name this week.
But Kadarius Toney, arguably a more talented player than Metchie, reportedly is being shopped by the New York Giants. And the Patriots, according to a least one reporter, likely will consider trading for the 23-year-old slot receiver.
That’s all well and good. However, at the end of the day, it’s hard to envision Bill Belichick parting with assets to bring in someone like Toney. There are three reasons why we feel that way.
You’ve heard it a million times: Belichick’s favorite ability is “availability.” Well, Toney has been anything but that since the Giants drafted him 20th overall last year.
He missed a slew of offseason practices, and eventually seven regular-season games, due to various injuries. The Florida product dealt with thumb, quad, oblique, hamstring, ankle and shoulder issues, and also returned two positive COVID-19 tests.
Toney also might have maturity issues. Many eyebrows were raised when Toney missed portions of his first rookie minicamp session because he wore wrong-sized cleats. At one point during the practice, Toney ran drills while wearing one cleat. Furthermore, he was thrown out of New Work’s Week 5 loss to Dallas after throwing a punch at a Cowboys player.
Finally, there’s Toney’s commitment and work ethic — or lack thereof — to consider. A recent report from Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News paints a picture of a receiver who seems unfit for life with the Patriots.
Check out this excerpt:
There was some internal momentum for bailing on Toney during his tumultuous rookie season a year ago. His commitment came into question behind the scenes during his rookie year due to lack of playbook study, poor meeting behavior and frequent injuries.
The high-maintenance wideout hasn’t shown up to any of the team’s offseason program yet under first-year coach Brian Daboll, either. So the Giants are trying to move last year’s No. 20 overall pick.
On top of those reasons, here’s one more thing to consider: the presence of Joe Judge.
If Judge, then New York’s head coach, and the Giants really were considering moving on from Toney during his rookie season, you can imagine what Judge, now a Patriots offensive assistant, is telling Belichick behind the scenes. Sure, Belichick has the final say on all personnel decisions and can execute his own agenda, but he values input from those close to him. It probably is fair to assume that former Giants safety Jabrill Peppers received a strong review from Judge before signing with New England this offseason.
Again, Toney is an explosive talent and would fill a need on the Patriots. He lined up in the slot on 60.1% of his offensive snaps last season, according to Pro Football Focus. Toney also showed promise when actually on the field, as evidenced by his solid stats — 39 catches for 420 yards — in 10 games. That’s almost as much production as N’Keal Harry has provided in three seasons (57 catches for 598 yards).
Maybe Belichick really wants to scratch that reclamation-project itch. If not, he probably will pass on Toney, a player who might not be cut out for the NFL, let alone the Patriots.