Picking up an EDGE prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft would be a smart move for the Las Vegas Raiders. Looking at the available prospects, Penn State’s Shaka Toney would be the wise selection.
There are two Penn State prospects that are receiving much praise heading into the draft, one is Jayson Oweh and the other is Toney. Both are pash rushers that will garner attention as we get closer to the draft, though Toney’s flying under the radar. As for the Raiders, they need to really think about upgrading the defensive end spots by selecting quality depth. Then again, their new defensive coordinator will likely want a chance to further develop Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby.
Whoever the Silver and Black decide to go with as their new defensive boss will surely dictate how the team approaches the roster. If they decide on picking up a prospect or two for the defensive line, Toney should be their man.
How would Shaka Toney fit the Raiders?
The six-foot-three, 252-pound defensive end was an absolute wrecking ball opposite of Oweh. As a Nittany Lion, Toney amassed 111 total tackles, 20 sacks, 28.5 tackles for a loss, and four forced fumbles. Along with those accomplishments, Toney also had four passes defensed in those same 40 career games.
Pro Football Focus showcased Toney’s progression, especially in the last three years. In that span, Toney graded overall at 72.5, 81.3, and 72.5 again, respectively. Considering the level of competition he faced in the Big Ten, Toney’s earned an admirable 81.6 pass-rush grade
One downside, Toney would face the same dilemma most EDGE prospects do. Kyle Crabbs of the Draft Network pointed out he could definitely put on some mass but it would affect his speed in turn. That speed is what’s gaining him praise, the same recognition that’s making him a touted prospect.
Shaka Toney turning the corner – my goodness pic.twitter.com/vueKa3axWk
— Connor Rogers (@ConnorJRogers) October 24, 2020
The Film Doesn’t Lie
One of Toney’s biggest strengths isn’t just his speed but his burst off the line. His spin moves are deadly, just take at what he does in the clip above. That type of movement and speed is scary if it can translate into the NFL.
Watching some of Toney’s tape, his motor is an absolute strength as he chases down the quarterback with reckless abandon. While his sacks totals aren’t eye-popping but Toney’s constantly in the backfield and his ability to generate pressure is sorely missing on the Raiders.
Even though Toney dominated college tackles, it’ll be interesting to see if he will be able to run through NFL tackles, especially ones that are more athletic. Instead of forcing him to put on weight, the Raiders could make better use of his speed, strictly bringing him on as a pass-rush specialist. Have him develop slowly into a more complete defensive end behind Ferrell and Crosby.
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*Top Photo: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports