Giants could use rookie Kadarius Toney in the return game

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Days before the New York Giants were on the clock in the 2021 NFL draft, it was extremely difficult to determine the direction they would go. Of course, Big Blue ended up traded down to the No. 20 spot in the first round, selecting Kadarius Toney and Dave Gettleman’s new nickname, “Trader Dave” was born.

The Giants are suddenly deep at wide receiver after signing Kenny Golladay and John Ross in free agency. Even with Ross going on injured reserve to start the season, the team still has to feel pretty good about their depth at the position.

With such a crowded group, Toney, who missed most of the summer, may have trouble breaking out in his rookie year. However, it seems as though he could be used in the return game in an effort to take advantage of his explosiveness.

“We’ll see, we’ve got a lot of options. We’ll see where Kadarius fits in, who knows. We’ve just got a lot of options. We’ve got a lot of different guys we could put back there. We’ve got a lot of guys that have done it in the past, a lot of viable options. It’s always good to have options at that spot,” special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey told reporters on Thursday.

During his time at the University of Florida, Toney spent time returning both kickoffs and punts. 2020 is when he saw most of the time as a returner. Toney had seven kick returns on the season, averaging 21.6 yards on those attempts. He also had 11 punt returns for an average of 11.3 yards on those attempts and even took one back for a touchdown.

If Toney is able to be dynamic in the return game, he might add some value the Giants didn’t fully expect when they drafted him 20th overall. Toney’s 40-yard dash time was 4.39, so speed is definitely a strength for the Florida product.