Toon came on strong at the end of his redshirt freshman year, making 14 of his 17 receptions in the season's last five games (covering 196 of the season total of 257). He earned a starting role in 2009, leading the Badgers with 54 catches for 805 yards and four scores. Hoping to break out as a junior, Toon managed just 36 receptions for 459 yards and three touchdowns while fighting through a thigh bruise and turf toe.
The younger Toon possesses the size and physical play that made the elder a fine receiver. Inconsistent hands and the health issues that plagued him in 2010, however, must be overcome during his senior year if he wants to follow the path his father blazed as a first round pick.
Release: Physical off the line, using his hands to defeat press and winning inside or outside position against most any college corner. Also owns a hop-step hesitation move to freeze defenders. Lines up in the slot and outside.
Hands: Flashes strong hands, making the occasional tough catch and snatch passes away from his body. Drops too many 50-50 balls, however, often in third down or other crucial situations. Fails to extend upwards for the ball in sideline battles, instead waiting for it to arrive and allowing defender into the play.
Route Running: Typically wins one-on-one battles outside. Has quick feet to push upfield and quickly stop for comeback routes. Sells fake inside route well, using quick cut to get outside shoulder. Tends to run high, however, must sink his hips to shake NFL defenders. Uses size and length to separate when facing man, but tips corners playing off by slowing down before making his out cut. Challenges the seam with his long strides but does not have elite speed to burn by defenders with pure speed.
After the Catch: Strong runner with the ball in his hands, secures the ball quickly and shakes or spins off arm tackles and maintains balance to keep moving forward. Uses stiff-arm to hold off smaller defensive backs. Thrown bubble screens to use his strength on the edge.
Blocking: Flashse aggressive run blocking outside, landing multiple punches to knock him off balance. Resorts to cut blocks and throwing shoulders into defenders at times. Does not drop his hips to get position and fails to take correct angles to his man, allowing the corner to get inside position and make a play on the ball.
Intangibles: Missed time in 2010 with turf toe and a thigh bruise. Father, Al, was Wisconsin Hall of Fame receiver (left as all-time receiving leader) and was No. 10 pick overall in 1985 NFL Draft and played eight years with N.Y. Jets."
Doesn’t have a great burst in and out of his breaks, but is sharp, uses his body well to shield defenders and adjust cleanly to the football. Has a tendency to chop his feet and will waste some motion when trying to get out of his breaks. But, widens/tightens his angles as he sees appropriate giving the QB more room to throw in all areas of the game. Does a nice job adjusting to throws, using his long arms to pluck off his frame and securing the catch.
Gets a bit lazy at times letting throws get into his frame, but for the most part is a sound plucker. His combination of power and short-area quickness allows him to create somewhat for himself after the catch. Isn’t a burner who can outrun angles and consistently make plays vertically behind corners.
But secures the catch well, drops his pad level and can break tackles through contact. Isn’t a real gifted vertical threat, but does have some jump ball ability. Is balanced, can be physical and will go up and make a play on the ball at its highest point. Hasn’t been overly productive however, which a lot has to do with the offense and in a different scheme his numbers could be vastly different.
Impression: I like his size, short-area quickness and ability to adjust to the football. Isn’t a guy who is going to create consistently down the field. But knows how to gain enough separation, pluck and create after the catch. Looks like a guy who can play on the outside as a legit number two wideout running the inward breaking routes with some time, but isn’t ever going to be a dynamic playmaker."
Route Running: Disappointing route runner. I expected him to be great because his dad was a fantastic route runner. His lack of short area burst is evident getting in and out of breaks. He is has a longer stride that doesn’t allow him to be sudden enough to create a lot separation. He is fundamentally sound in terms of the actual route tree. He uses his head to set up double moves very well.
After the Catch: He doesn’t create a lot after the catch. He’s more of a slow twitched athlete that lacks the elusiveness to get by defenders. For his size (220) you expect him to be able to run through defenders but he doesn’t. He has a good stiff arm but it’s really his only effective tool to break free.
Athleticism: Toon has good football speed but isn’t an elite athlete which is probably why he won’t be taken in the first 50 picks of the 2012 NFL Draft. He is a good leaper and shows excellent body control in the air. He can’t create in the open field due to lack of agility and suddenness.
Bottom Line: Nick Toon has struggled his entire career with durability issues. His medical at the Combine will be very important because of concerns with recurrent foot injuries. What you see with Toon is what you get. A fundamentally sound receiver that has relatively low ceiling but should be able to contribute immediately in the NFL. I don’t see anything that jumps out to make me believe he’s an elite receiver or much more than a solid possession guy at the next level.
Draft Projection: Nick Toon will likely go in the second round but I have him a high third."
Lacks elite top-end speed and run-after-catch ability but can line up as an "X" or slot and should be a first-down machine for a long time.
Is tough, competitive and can be trusted to climb the ladder or make difficult catches in traffic, as he shows excellent balance, body control and concentration.
Seeks to finish in the run game and is aggressive stalking downfield.
Will do the dirty work and can energize an offense."
Polished receiver with excellent hands and route running ability;
Will make the tough catch in traffic, but will lose focus at times and drop the odd easy one;
Has only average straight-line speed and is not that elusive in the open field, but has a nice burst coming out of cuts;
Can also extend for balls downfield;
Needs to stay healthy this fall after struggling with toe and thigh injuries last year when he caught 36 passes after posting 50 the year before."
Great at working the middle of the field, is a tough receiver who is not afraid of contact... Had the best year of his career as a senior, benefited from having Russell Wilson throwing to him... Solid red zone target and can go up and make a play on fade routes...
Should be a solid possession receiver at the next level, good route runner with great boundary awareness... Terrific NFL bloodlines, his father is Al Toon, former All-Pro receiver for the New York Jets... Very polished, should have a quick transition to the NFL, can run every route...
Physical receiver who does a good job using his hands to fight off corners... Willing run blocker, was asked to block a ton at Wisconsin and his size and strength allow him to be above-average in this area... Combination of size and natural receiving ability makes him valuable and he should at minimum settle in as a #2 receiver at the next level.
Negatives -- Despite being a starter for most of his career, never dominated Big Ten competition, never had a 1,000 yard season... Beneficiary of having a lot of one-on-one coverage due to Wisconsin's rushing attack...
Is not a burner, more of a one speed runner who can get down the field but lacks burst... Major injury concerns, missed games in three of four years due to injury... Doesn't have great lateral agility, struggles to make sharp cuts and has to gear down at times, will struggle to get separation at times."
What will really help Toon in the 2012 NFL Draft is if he is able to run a sub-4.5 40. There aren't many receivers with his size who can do that in the league and that will really catch all the scouts' attention.
The problem is that his game film will be tough for teams to glean a lot of information from. Wisconsin spends so much time focusing on their running game that it is tricky to watch him break press coverage and run routes throughout a game.
The Badgers have produced a few solid pass-catchers in the NFL, including Lee Evans, Travis Beckum, Owen Daniels, Lance Kendricks and Jim Leonhard. So the lineage is there for those who were successful at Wisconsin to become NFL pros. Toon needs to work on his ability to seal the edge as a run-blocker.
He sometimes drop what should be sure catches, but has really improved upon this over his last two seasons. When route-running, he'll need to clean up his footwork and make sharper cuts."