There are few things that get the fan base as excited as a rookie having an outstanding season. Not only does he inspire incredible hope among fans, but having great production from a rookie is a huge plus for the team. Starters are relatively inexpensive and their costs are controlled for four or five years, which gives the team an advantage in cap flexibility.
The flip side of that coin is that there are few things more frustrating than a highly crafted beginner who goes out and has a bad season. Teams need to produce from their initial selections as soon as possible, and not having them can put a lot of pressure on the rest of the team and the front office as a whole.
Sam Monson made a Pro Football Focus menu 10 sophomores under pressure after a disappointing rookie season. New York GiantsWide receiver Kadarius Toney is one such player. Toney’s junior season was certainly disappointing, with the receiver running only 420 yards–and 0 touchdowns–in 10 games.
Let’s see what Monson said.
WR KADARIUS TONEY, Giants of New York
It’s never been a great sign when the team designs a player who looks like a natural replacement for someone who was drafted into the same position the year before, but that’s the reality facing Tony after he picked the Giants Wandell Robinson in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
Tony showed incredible talent as a rookie but struggled to stay on the court. In addition, there was quiet talk about his attitude and dedication. Tony has always been a difficult player to handle smoothly with the NFL offensive due to his unique talent and playing style, but now, he has to prove he can do just that and fend off another unusual sporting threat to a new system in New York. Tony has incredible ability with the ball in his hands but is already under pressure entering Year 2.
Is Kadarios Toni under pressure to keep his job this season? Yes, it probably is. Even before we get to building the list of giants as a whole, it’s worth remembering that the property has done a clean sweep of the front desk and coaching staff. There are very few players on this list that the new system has invested in. It could mean that everyone on the list is fighting a battle for their jobs.
Monson notes that the Giants picked a very similar player in this year’s draft. Wan’Dale Robinson had a college career very similar to Toney. They both started out as “tool” players who weren’t real receivers. Both moved around the offensive lineup and plotted touches on passes, bubble screens, pitches, and various “deceptive play” concepts. They both played the role of “receiver” in their senior seasons before going to Reese big bowl. Both players are small in size (Robinson is more than Tony) and their game depends on stopping and starting speed.
In addition to Robinson – who is a very direct analogue of Tony – the Giants also have Sterling Shepherd, CJ Board, Ritchie James and Austin Broel, all of whom offer a similar skill set.
This is clearly a skill set that Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka, and Joe Schoen would want, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Tony is the lock to provide. He can’t stand a repeat of the junior season. While he had a good match against New Orleans Saints And a great game against Cowboys in DallasTony’s other eight games totaled 35 catches for 153 yards (no touchdowns).
Tony has talent – perhaps not at the hyperbolic level Monson suggests, but Tony is definitely talented. However, he needs to be constantly in the field and constantly producing when in the field.