The Chiefs made numerous changes to their receiving corps during the 2022 NFL offseason, the biggest of which was trading Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins.
Hill had long been Kansas City’s No. 1 receiver, and many were skeptical whether the Chiefs’ subsequent additions would be enough to offset his departure.
So far, the team has done a good job of mixing and matching at the position. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling each found roles to play in the receiver room and Patrick Mahomes hasn’t missed a beat with more receiver depth at his disposal.
Still, the Chiefs felt like they could stand to add more depth at the position before the 2022 NFL trade deadline. As such, they acquired 2021 first-round pick Kadarius Toney from the Giants in exchange for a couple of draft picks.
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Toney was an explosive playmaker at times during his rookie season with the Giants, but he fell out of favor under the team’s new brain trust of Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. So, the speedy playmaker was given a fresh start, and the Chiefs will look to benefit from buying low on the Florida product.
Toney adds to the Chiefs’ ability to replace Hill in their offense. He may, in fact, be the closest thing to Hill that Kansas City currently has on its roster. And if he is used properly, Toney could break out as he gets acclimated to Andy Reid’s offense.
But how will the Chiefs use Kadarius Toney? A look back at his time with the Giants as well as his stats and speed should provide Chiefs fans an idea of what to expect as Toney gets integrated into the Kansas City offense.
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How did the Giants use Kadarius Toney?
One way to explore the Chiefs’ potential usage of Toney is to look at how he was used during his time with the Giants over the last one-and-a-half seasons.
Toney’s time with the Giants was brief. He only played in 12 games due to a series of nagging injuries, and he only made five starts. Still, there was enough of a sample size to show that Toney can play both outside receiver and in the slot, and that versatility could be a weapon for the Chiefs.
Below is a breakdown of Toney’s offensive usage during his time with the Giants.
|Position||Total snaps||% of snaps|
|Backfield (inc. QB)||6||1.8|
It’s worth noting that under Brian Daboll’s staff, Toney saw 16 snaps in the slot compared to 17 out wide. So, it was more of a 50-50 split, albeit in limited action.
Either way, that Toney saw snaps in four different offensive roles means that Reid can get creative with his usage. And given Toney’s speed, that’s something that Reid should relish doing.
Kadarius Toney 40 time
Toney proved he was one of the fastest receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft when he blazed a 4.39-second 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. That speed has shown up on the field during his career and is arguably his biggest weapon overall.
Speed isn’t everything in the NFL, but the Chiefs lost a lot of it with Hill’s departure. They now have a bit more of it with Toney. in the fold along with Mecole Hardman and Valdes-Scantling.
And as Toney’s stats show, he knows how to turn his speed into tangible NFL-level production.
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Kadarius Toney stats
Toney was inconsistent as a rookie, but he showcased his sky-high ceiling with a 10-catch, 189-yard outing against the Cowboys in Week 5. That led many to believe that he could be a big-time weapon for the Giants and a true No. 1 receiver.
However, Toney was inconsistent from there. He failed to produce another big game as a rookie and wasn’t given a chance to play much under the new regime in New York during the 2022 season.
Below is a look at Toney’s stats with the Giants.
|Yards per reception||10.2|
Toney should have a chance to even out his performance in the ever-stable Kansas City, especially considering how well he compares to Hill.
Could Kadarius Toney be used like Tyreek Hill?
There’s no guarantee that Toney will reach Tyreek Hill’s level, but It’s reasonable to expect the Chiefs may have a Hill-like usage plan for Toney. After all, they are similarly sized — Hill is 5-10, 191 pounds — and Hill ran the 40-yard dash in 4.29 seconds, just 0.1 seconds faster than Toney.
Each has a similar playing style, too, as Toney relies largely on his speed and elusiveness to make plays. Hill is more polished at this point in his career, but the savvy veteran took time to develop on the field. Toney will do the same.
How exactly did the Chiefs use Hill? In his final season, he played all over the offense, but he played slightly more out wide as opposed to in the slot.
|Position||Total snaps||% of snaps|
|Backfield (inc. QB)||6||0.6|
With that said, it stands to reason that Toney will rotate inside and outside depending on the matchup. He played a bit more in the slot with the Giants in 2021, but Reid’s system requires receivers to play both in the slot and outside to take advantage of matchups.
Reid will put Toney where he believes the receiver’s speed will play best. That could change on a play-to-play basis, so Toney’s versatility will prove crucial in his ability to earn snaps in Kansas City’s offense.
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How will the Chiefs use Toney?
In looking at Toney’s stats, size (5-11, 193 pounds) and speed, it’s clear that he isn’t a big-time red-zone threat. He is a speed receiver who can make plays in space, rip off big gains and use his quickness to gain separation.
Toney will be able to get better in the red zone as he refines his route-running. But for now, his best usage will be as a big-play threat for the team. That should fit well with the Chiefs, especially given his versatility.
Toney will likely continue to be utilized both in the slot and out wide with the Chiefs in the same manner as Hill. In fact, that rotation is a big part of Kansas City’s offense as is, as each of its top-three receivers in 2022 — Smith-Schuster, Valdes-Scantling and Hardman — have spent time both in the slot and out wide this season.
|Player||Snaps out wide||Snaps in slot||% out wide||% in slot|
Perhaps Toney would prove more efficient in one area and see that become his primary position. For now, it looks like his versatility makes him a nice fit for Kansas City’s matchup-based approach at the receiver position.