Washington Football Team’s Shaka Toney has legit chance to exceed draft expectations

Washington Football Team EDGE Shaka Toney. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
Washington Football Team EDGE Shaka Toney. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports /

Washington Football Team seventh-round draft choice Shaka Toney has the tools needed to exceed the draft expectations of a player selected so late.

The Washington Football Team has brought in 10 new players courtesy of the 2021 NFL Draft. LB Jamin Davis, OL Samuel Cosmi, CB Benjamin St-Juste, and WR Dyami Brown headline the class as all were chosen in the first three rounds.

The draft class overall was an impressive haul of super athletic players who have serious potential to be key building blocks on an ascending roster.

All 10 players selected by Washington face a basic challenge in just having to transition from college to the NFL. Those players drafted in the later rounds tend to face an even steeper climb.

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Draft position comes with a certain set of expectations. More will generally be expected from Jamin Davis as a first-round pick versus Shaka Toney as a seventh-round pick. The journey a player like Toney will face in the months ahead is the one that this writer will be focusing on.

Selected at No. 246 overall, the former Penn State defensive end has all the tools necessary to exceed draft expectations. Standing at a modest 6-foot-2 inches, and weighing 242 pounds, Toney was known in college for his athleticism and explosion off the line. He had a college career that included 111 combined tackles to go along with 28.5 total sacks.

As a rookie for Washington, Toney will have a chance to compete with Casey Toohill, fellow draft pick William Bradley-King, and others for roster positioning and potential playing time as a rotational edge defender. However, Toney must continue to improve his technique and physical strength in order to become anything more than a rotational edge defender long-term.

If you watch Toney’s game film, you will see glimpses of a player who has a shot of becoming more than a back-of-the-roster filler over time. The talent is definitely there, and it is a talent that will be molded by a defensive coaching staff with a proven track record.

Shaka Toney and the Washington Football Team may eventually become a fit that truly benefits both parties. Chase Young and Montez Sweat take all the glory on the defensive front edge and deservedly so.

However, the drop-off when either had to go to the sideline was noticeable in 2020. Ryan Kerrigan was able to produce 5.5 sacks with limited snaps but Ryan Anderson had zero.

Anderson signed with the New York Giants in free agency, and Kerrigan is still a free agent. Kerrigan doesn’t seem like he will be playing for the burgundy and gold in the upcoming season unless the current circumstances for the team and player change.

Lack of proven depth at the backup edge defender position should provide Toney a legitimate chance to prove his value going forward. The process will obviously play itself out, but Toney doesn’t have to look far to find a late-round draft choice who crushed draft expectations. Stud safety Kamren Curl did just that last year for the WFT.

Being drafted late shouldn’t be a curse, but should just be seen as another part of the long journey to becoming a member of the National Football League. For Shaka Toney, the rest is on him. Exceeding draft expectations is well within his grasp.

Next. Analyzing Jamin Davis' draft profile. dark

As always, thank you for reading, and stick with us here at Riggo’s Rag for further post-draft coverage and all things Washington Football Team.