Nick Toon: 6 Biggest Strengths and Weaknesses of NFL Draft Prospect's Game
Much of the craze around draft prospects has surrounded the big names at the most important positions, such as quarterback and pass-rusher, but the wide receiver position is also of great significance despite many stating it's easily replaceable.
A quality wide receiver can control the way defenses work by forcing coordinators to give extra attention to them, consequently creating running room and more opportunities for the rest of his teammates.
This is why the draft class at the position is so intriguing this year; it is deep and talented.
One of those talents is Wisconsin's Nick Toon, who is the son of former All-Pro receiver Al Toon. Nick is a hard-nosed pass catcher who is also versatile, which boosts his stock among NFL teams. Although he is unlikely to be a top ten pick—like his father—because of some of his weaknesses, he still has a lot to offer to teams.
One of the Wisconsin products strength is his hands.
Toon does a good job of catching the ball away from his body as well as trapping it. He also shows the ability to adjust to the ball at all angles—whether it's low or high, like a high-point fade route.
He possesses good body control and anticipation to go along with his quality hands.
Although he's gotten vertical on defensive backs multiple times in his career, Nick Toon does not have great speed.
At the NFL Combine, he ran a 4.54 40-yard dash which seems to backup his game tape. He does not have great explosiveness at the start nor does he have long build-up speed like Alshon Jeffery of South Carolina does, for example.
This may leave many asking: If he doesn't have the vertical speed, then how did he get open deep?
It's because of his quality route running.
Strength: Route Running
As noted in the previous slide, route running is what Toon does to get open at the deep levels of the field. He shows a good understanding of how to run routes, especially the details.
Routes do not always require a sharp cut—sometimes a receiver may need to round his route off to get proper timing with the quarterback. This is typically seen on one- and three-step drops that are tied in with short routes, like quick outs.
Although he does not have great explosiveness and quickness, Toon does a good job of setting up his man with his head and shoulders to create separation.
Weakness: Pad Level
Despite being able to set up his man to create separation, particularly on deeper routes, Toon has a tougher time getting open in the intermediate area of the field. The reason for this is because of his aforementioned lack of explosiveness and quickness, but also because of his pad level.
He tends to run a bit high, which makes it more difficult for him to sink his hips and break off his route. This is an issue that can be fixed at the next level, however.
Not every receiver nowadays likes to block or be aggressive and physical, but that's what I see when I watch Nick Toon play football.
He's willing to mix it up when run-blocking and does a good job of locking his elbows out while keeping his hands inside. He also moves his feet and looks to sustain his blocks.
The last question mark of Toon's game that some will identify as a weakness is his injury history.
He's missed time in games in the past because of minor injuries, but his most significant injury was to his left foot, which was said to be a fractured bone, that caused a lot of time during his junior season.
Despite bouncing back in his final season, where he missed only one game, Toon will have questions to answer about his short and long-term health.