The New York Giants’ selection of Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney was met with mixed reviews after general manager Dave Gettleman decided to trade down from No. 11 to No. 20 in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft on Thursday.
It was a move supplemented by the Philadelphia Eagles jumping up a spot before the Giants to swipe Heisman Trophy winner, DeVonta Smith, but Gettleman found a way to come away with an extra first-round pick next year from the quarterback-needy Chicago Bears, who took Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
“That was part of it,” Gettleman admitted. “[Eagles GM] Howie Roseman is not afraid to trade with anybody. I had a conversation with him earlier in the week and he said, ‘Dave, do you have any problems trading with me?’ I said, ‘No, if it works for both of us, it works for both of us.’ They made the trade and we decided to trade back.”
There was uncertainty that Toney would even be taken in the first round, but the speedy playmaker’s selection by the Giants got high field marks from Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer — who had previous coaching stops at Florida and Ohio State before making the jump to the NFL.
“I’ve gotten to know him over the last couple weeks and obviously my connection with [Gators] coach [Dan] Mullen and those guys,” Meyer said. “You watch [Toney] play, he’s a human highlight reel.”
He even went on to admit that the Giants getting Toney “broke our hearts.”
One of the fastest receivers in the 2021 draft pool, Toney is expected to work mostly out of the slot alongside veteran Sterling Shepard. As Meyer alluded to in his “human highlight reel” comments, Toney does his best work when given even the smallest margins of space to maximize yards after the catch.
“I don’t know if there was a big separation, if I can say that, but he’s right up there and he was worthy of a first-round pick, so that shows you what we think of him,” Chris Pettit, the Giants’ director of college scouting, said (h/t New York Post).