Saints Rookie Profile: Nick Toon

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 03: Nick Toon #1 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs for yards after the catch against the Trenton Robinson #39 of the Michigan State Spartans during the Big 10 Conference Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Nick Toon, a.k.a. "Rug Rat"

Wide Receiver, Wisconsin #1, 6' 3" 220 lbs.

Scouting Report:

Most of us have heard that Nick Toon is the son of former NFL wide receiver Al Toon, so I'll try to not dwell on that subject. However, I do see the value of your father knowing the ins-and-outs of catching a football at the pro level. There were probably many days when young Nick was running routes in the yard while dad was playing quarterback.

Think of the wealth of knowledge Al has probably bestowed upon his son. As a matter of fact, watching film on Nick is proof enough that his dad coached him from a very young age. Apparently Al also warned his son of the dangers of catching the ball blindly and with good reason. Al Toon's career just happened to be cut short by a series of brutal concussions.

I will not say Nick has butterfingers because I have not watched enough film to know what causes him to miss some of the easier passes. I have seen some questionable drops in the film I did get a chance to cover; and of course, highlight films covered his better catches. He displays determination to catch the ball even when he knows there is going to be contact so I don't think it's fear. One scout pointed out his smaller hands as part of the problem. His hands measure 9 inches which is only a 1/4 inch smaller than Justin Blackmon's and only 3/8 inch smaller than Michael Floyd's, so while it seems plausible I'm going to say it's probably unlikely.

During the 2010 and 2011 seasons, Toon greatly reduced the number of drops and will continue to improve over the preseason. While he will have a normal preseason, unlike last year's rookies, I personally think that will be negated with the coaching carousel the Saints will be facing this season. Luckily, the Saints' locker room is full of strong leaders in just about every position group especially the receiving corps.

With guys like Colston, Moore, and even the young Jimmy Graham helping him, Toon could develop into a powerful addition to the group. He has the size, strength, and hands to contribute to an already talented group of receivers and the Saints are very patient when developing rookies. It's really hard to tell how talented Toon really is because Wisconsin relies heavily on their running attack. Many scouts believe if Toon had attended a passing school then his stats could have been considerably higher, but that's like guessing how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.

At the Combine, he didn't run a blazingly fast 40-yard dash but he was clocked at a respectable 4.54 seconds. During his Pro Day workout he managed to cut his 40 time to 4.43 seconds and increased his vertical leap to 39 inches. This may be due to a nagging foot injury that affected his draft stock. I'm not saying he's 100%, but shaving a tenth of a second is no easy task. I'm actually not too concerned with his durability related to his foot injury although some scouts see him as injury prone. I just think he hasn't had the right doctor doing the work. I mean I'm sure someone has gone to the doctor for a sore throat and found themselves a victim of a random prostate exam...maybe that's just me.

Toon doesn't shy away from contact during his release and uses his size to create an opportunity for himself to catch the ball. There are mixed opinions on his route running. Some say he runs clean, crisp routes and others disagree by saying he needs to work on his footwork when changing direction in-and-out of breaks. Something I noticed and several other scouts have mentioned is he has a neat little stutter step move that buys him a split second of separation from defenders. He also knows how to settle into zone coverage to give the QB a chance to throw to him, but Nick seems to struggle against man-to-man although this is based again on limited film coverage.

I really like his ability to produce yards after the catch. He's a gritty runner who will lower his pads and run through a defender when necessary or he can simply make them whiff on the tackle. As you can see, Toon's downside is nothing to lose sleep over especially considering his upside. He can be developed into a top notch posession receiver within the Saints' system. Even though he doesn't have spectacular college stats, he did produce enough to land on a few top ten lists for receiving at Wisconsin and kept an eerily close pace with his father's stats. The only reason I'm revisiting the father/son comparison is because his dad was drafted ahead of Jerry Rice in 1985.

"In PayLoo We Trust!"

At Wisconsin: Earned 4 letters

Career: Third in school history with 2,447 career receiving yards and 171 career receptions ... fifth at UW with 18 career receiving touchdowns

2011: Earned fourth letter ... started 13 of 14 games ... 10 touchdown receptions on the season are second-most in school history ... 64 receptions on the season tied for third-most at UW ... 926 receiving yards on the year are sixth-most in school history ... career-high nine receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown against Oregon in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 2 ... nine receptions are second-most in UW bowl history and 104 receiving yards are fifth-most ... made three catches for 34 yards against Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 3 ... caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown against Penn State (Nov. 26) ... team-high six catches for 67 yards at Illinois on Nov. 19 ... eight receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns at Minnesota on Nov. 12 ... recorded 35 receiving yards on three receptions against Purdue on Nov. 5 ... caught three passes for 39 yards at Ohio State on Oct. 29 ... recorded two receptions for 58 yards against Michigan State on Oct. 22 ... missed the Indiana game on Oct. 15 due to injury ... caught four passes for 94 yards and one touchdown against Nebraska on Oct. 1 ... career-high 155 receiving yards, including career-long 59-yard reception, and two touchdowns on seven catches against South Dakota on Sept. 24 ... named UW's co-offensive player of the week after tying career high with two touchdown receptions and catching five passes for 75 yards against Northern Iillinois on Sept. 17 ... matched career high with seven receptions for 69 yards and one touchdown against Oregon State on Sept. 10 ... caught two passes for 54 yards against UNLV on Sept. 1

2010:
Earned third letter ... played in nine games with seven starts ... second on team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns ... team-high 46 yards on three catches against TCU in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1 ... tied career high with two touchdown catches and caught five passes for 62 yards against Northwestern on Nov. 27 ... caught three passes for 57 yards at Michigan on Nov. 20 ... scored first touchdown of the season, part of three-catch, 26-yard day vs. Indiana on Nov. 13 ... team-high five receptions for 62 yards at Purdue on Nov. 6 ... did not play at Iowa on Oct. 23 due to injury ... matched season high with six receptions for 72 yards in win over No. 1 Ohio State on Oct. 16 ... season-high six catches for 52 yards against Minnesota on Oct. 9 ... returned at Michigan State to catch one pass for 28 yards after missing previous three games with turf toe injury ... did not play against Austin Peay on Sept. 25, Arizona State on Sept. 18 or San Jose State on Sept. 11 due to turf toe injury ... caught four passes for 54 yards and rushed two times for career-high 10 yards against UNLV on Sept. 4

2009: Earned second letter ... 805 receiving yards ranks second all-time among sophomores and 11th for a single season at UW ... ... 54 receptions ties for sixth-most receptions in a season at UW ...led team in receptions and receiving yards and was second in touchdown receptions (4) ... led team with 66 receiving yards on three catches against Hawaii on Dec. 5 ... career-high seven receptions for 80 yards and two rushes for eight yards against Northwestern on Nov. 21 ... team-high five catches for 98 yards and career-high two touchdowns against Michigan on Nov. 14 ... named UW's co-offensive player of the week after season-high 123 receiving yards, including season-long 44-yard reception, on five catches and one rush for nine yards against Indiana on Nov. 7 ... team-high three catches for 55 yards against Purdue on Oct. 31 ... four receptions for team-high 53 yards against Ohio State on Oct. 10 ... scored second touchdown of the season and had three catches for 45 yards against Michigan State on Sept. 26 ... caught six passes for 70 yards against Wofford on Sept. 19 ... caught four passes for 49 yards and one touchdown against Fresno State on Sept. 12 ... named UW's co-offensive player of the week for Northern Illinois game, making his first-career start and catching five passes for 72 yards

2008: Earned first letter ... played in 12 of 13 games and finished fifth on the team with 17 receptions for 257 yards ... had 14 catches for 196 yards over the last five games ... two catches for 27 yards against Florida State in the Champs Sports Bowl ... two catches for 40 yards and his first career touchdown, a 26-yard reception, against Cal Poly on Nov. 22 ... season-high four receptions for 44 yards against Minnesota on Nov. 15 ... three catches for 41 yards at Indiana on Nov. 8 ... three receptions for season-high 44 yards at Michigan State on Nov. 1 ... one catch for season-long 28 yards on Oct. 11 against Penn State ... made first catch (18 yards) as a Badger at Michigan on Sept. 27... saw first action as a Badger at wide receiver against Akron on Aug. 30

2007:
Redshirted

High School:
Ranked among top 30 players in Midwest and earned All-America honors from SuperPrep ... earned All-America honors from PrepStar ... rated among top 25 receivers nationally and the No. 3 player overall in Wisconsin by Rivals.com ... first-team all-state selection in 2006 after earning second-team honors as a junior in 2005 ... two-time, first-team all-area return specialist ... named to inaugural All-American Offense-Defense Bowl ... team captain as a senior ... made 51 receptions for 799 yards and registered 17 returns for 430 yards as a senior ... also scored 13 touchdowns and picked off two passes in final prep campaign ... 26 catches for 425 yards and six TDs as a junior ... football coach was Tim Simon ... also lettered in track

Personal:
Parents are Al and Jane Toon ... father starred as wide receiver (and in track, as well) at Wisconsin (1982-84), leaving UW as school's career receiving leader (131 catches, 2,103 yards, 19 TDs) ... father was inducted into UW Hall of Fame in 1995 ... Al Toon was No. 10 pick overall in 1985 NFL Draft and played eight years with N.Y. Jets ... major is family, consumer and community education


Combine Results:

40 Yard Dash 4.54 seconds
225 lb. Benchpress 18 reps
Vertical Jump 37.5 inches
Broad Jump DNP

Pro Day Results:

40 Yard Dash 4.43 seconds
225 lb Benchpress DNP
Vertical Jump 39 inches
Broad Jump 10' 10"
20 Yard Dash 2.54 seconds


Honors/Awards/Recognitions

Named second-team All-Big Ten (2010, 2011)

Honorable mention All-Big Ten (2009, 2011)

Wayne Souza Coaches Appreciation Award

Senior Bowl Invitation

NFL scouting combine Invitation

Biletnikoff Award watch list member

UW Play of the Year (as voted on by fans) - TD catch vs. Michigan (2009)


Career Stats

Receiving
Rushing
Scrimmage

Year

School
Conf
Class
Pos
Rec
Yds
Avg
TD
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Plays
Yds
Avg
TD
2008 Wisconsin Big Ten SO WR 17 257 15.1 1 0 0 0 17 257 15.1 1
2009 Wisconsin Big Ten SO WR 54 805 14.9 4 4 24 6.0 0 58 829 14.3 4
2010 Wisconsin Big Ten JR WR 36 459 12.8 3 2 10 5.0 0 38 469 12.3 3
2011 Wisconsin Big Ten SR WR 64 926 14.5 10 0 0 0 64 926 14.5 10
Career
171 2447 14.3 18 6 34 5.7 0 177 2481 14.0 18
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