Kadarius Toney looks like a big time weapon for Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - NOVEMBER 13: Kadarius Toney #19 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after catching a pass in traffic during the third quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - NOVEMBER 13: Kadarius Toney #19 of the Kansas City Chiefs reacts after catching a pass in traffic during the third quarter of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium on November 13, 2022 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images) /

In just his second game for the Kansas City Chiefs, Kadarius Toney looked like an elite weapon that could make a big impact down the stretch.

The Kansas City Chiefs offense had a productive day against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes and the passing attack moved the ball with relative ease for most of the day despite being without Mecole Hardman for the entire game and losing Juju Smith-Schuster in the 2nd quarter. Their absences were negated by a productive game from K.C.’s newest addition, Kadarius Toney. Toney ended the day with six touches for 90 total yards and his first NFL touchdown. It was an especially good showing considering it was only Toney’s second game in Kansas City.

The Chiefs acquired Toney before the trade deadline from the New York Giants for a 2023 late 3rd-round pick and a 2023 6th-round pick. The Giants gave up on the 23-year-old Toney just a season and a half into his career after they took him with the 20th overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. Toney appeared in just 12 games for the Giants in that season and a half and ended his Giants career with just 41 receptions for 420 yards and 5 carries for 29 yards and no touchdowns.

Toney really only had one good game in his Giants career. In a 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last season, Toney had 10 receptions for 189 yards. That means in his other 11 games for New York he had 31 receptions for 231 yards. That’s an average of 2.8 receptions and 21 yards in those games. Needless to say, his six touches for 90 yards for the Chiefs on Sunday was hands down the second-best game of his NFL career. The fact that Toney was able to have that kind of success after just being on the team for a couple of weeks is promising for Kansas City.

In his final year in college for the Florida Gators, Toney was one of the most dynamic weapons in college football. He averaged over 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game. He also had a 20+ yard reception in 10 of his 11 games that season. If the Chiefs can find a way to consistently unlock that ability, they may have gotten themselves a steal in their trade deadline move this season. In New York, it seemed to be a combination of injuries and work ethic/issues with the coaching staff that held Toney back. Injuries can be flukey, so who knows what will happen on that front, but so far it appears that Toney is happy to be in Kansas City.

You never want to have to baby a player or give them special treatment, but if the Chiefs can keep things positive, it could go a long way toward Toney being a success in Kansas City. Andy Reid has a reputation for being a player’s coach and Patrick Mahomes has to be at the top of the list of best quarterbacks to play with. If Toney can’t find a way to make it work in K.C., it will probably say more about him than it will the Chiefs.

What was especially encouraging about Toney’s performance against the Jaguars was how he was used. Toney played a very similar role to what we’ve seen K.C. use for both Mecole Hardman this season and the wideout who we’re all tired of talking about before that. Toney had a 32-yard rush where they handed him the ball as he came across the formation in motion that was very reminiscent of what we’ve seen fast wideouts do in Reid’s offense before. He gained more rushing yards in that one carry than he had in his entire Giants career.

Toney also took several short passes and made plays out of them as well, including his touchdown catch and another that he turned into a 23-yard gain. He also made a great catch downfield against the sideline for 22 yards. Finally, he could prove to be the answer to K.C.’s punt return issues this season as he replaced Skyy Moore in that role in this game as well.

I’m certainly not ready to say that Kadarius Toney is going to suddenly elevate himself to elite #1 wide receiver status with the Chiefs, but what we saw today looked like it was a step up from Mecole Hardman. That’s not a knock on Hardman, who has been very productive this season. Hardman has 29 touches for 328 yards and 6 touchdowns this season. That’s an average of about 3.6 touches for 41 yards. Again, he’s been a valuable player for the Chiefs this season, but what we saw from Toney today at least shows the upside to be an improvement on what they’ve got from Hardman.

The reason that is significant is that the Chiefs were already the highest-scoring offense and the most efficient by several metrics. If Toney is able to develop into a consistent impact player it would be a nightmare scenario for opposing defenses. Just last week I wrote about how JuJu Smith-Schuster was putting up number one wide receiver numbers in this offense. Assuming he doesn’t have long-term issues from the scary concussion he suffered on Sunday, he could be a real beneficiary if Toney becomes a major factor. Smith-Schuster has been a good producer for the Chiefs, but he’s more of a consistent chains mover than a big-play weapon that defenses are game-planning to stop. If opposing defenses have to come into games focused on stopping Travis Kelce and Kadarius Toney it could mean that Smith-Schuster sees even more favorable matchups.

We don’t want to overreact to one game. After all, Toney had one monster game for the Giants last season, and then it was all downhill from there. However, it certainly looks like this offense may be a good fit for him and he seems to be fully engaged and motivated in Kansas City in a way he didn’t appear to be in New York. If Andy Reid and the Chiefs can build off of Toney’s good day against the Jaguars it could prove to be a huge boost to this team, especially come playoff time.

So what do you think Chiefs fans? Are you officially on the Kadarius Toney hype train after his game on Sunday? Are you taking more of a wait-and-see approach? Do you think the Chiefs will keep Toney ahead of Mecole Hardman in the pecking order when Hardman is back and fully healthy? I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

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