What's up Who Dats! Welcome to another edition of Tee's Corner. Today we'll be taking a look at New Orleans Saints wide receiver Nick Toon and what the future might hold for the 4th year player. A few off-season roster moves by the team have opened a door for Toon to rise up the depth chart and solidify his role with the Saints. This could even be considered a make-or-break year for Toon as this is the final year of his rookie contract. Toon is facing the giants in the fan appreciation department, but a solid camp and start to 2015 could quickly thrust him into a favorable position with Head Coach Sean Payton. So sit back and 'Toon' in as we take a closer look at the former Badger.
Nick Toon has the physical appearance of a top-tier chain-moving, red-zone threatening, jump-ball grabbing receiver - minus the straight line speed. But he lacks the catching ability to use his physical tools to their maximum potential. At 6'4" , 218 lbs, Toon has a stature that is similar to Saints favorite, Marques Colston. After 3 years of sharing a locker room with Colston, you'd think that at some point, Toon would have become Quiet Storm's shadow and figured out how to NOT be a healthy scratch on game days. Unfortunately, he has not done this. In the 2 years that Nick has been healthy, he's never appeared in more than 8 games and has only started 5 in his career. His best game has been a 4 catch for 45 yard outing against the Carolina Panthers in a blowout loss late in 2014. Aside from a foot injury to start his rookie season, the opportunity to gain a starting job has been there for Toon, he just hasn't taken advantage of a great deal of turnover at the WR spot.
2015 will be a great time for Toon to step up as he has a unique advantage over some of his competition. Let's take a moment to review his current competition on the roster.
- Brandon Coleman - 6'4" 225 lbs, 22 y/o
- Marques Colston - 6'4" 225 lbs, 31 y/o
- Brandin Cooks - 5'10" 189 lbs, 21 y/o
- Seantavius Jones - 6'3" 200 lbs, 22 y/o
- Joe Morgan - 6'1" 184 lbs, 27 y/o
- Jalen Saunders - 5'9" 165 lbs, 22 y/o
- Willie Snead - 5'11" 195 lbs, 22 y/o
- Andy Tanner - 6'0" 183 lbs, 26 y/o
A quick glance at the roster reveals a definite youth movement (read: inexperience) with the team. With that inexperience this plays in Toon's favor. He's had more time in the system to learn the offense and develop some level of chemistry with Drew Brees. In addition, Toon has actually been on the field on game-days and should have a clear understanding of the timing and speed of the game. Toon is 26 years old, 5 years younger than Colston. So if the light goes off for Toon, it is reasonable to believe that he could produce into his 30s, similar to Colston. Cooks, Saunders, Morgan, and Tanner fit into different molds and roles within the offense than Nick, so they are not necessarily direct competition, especially with a healthy Cooks being guaranteed a starting job. Jones and Snead have yet to appear in a game and have been on and off practice squads since entering the league. We know Colston is a fan and Payton favorite and will see his fair share of opportunities, so this all boils down to Toon versus Coleman. Each player has short-comings, Toon doesn't make catches consistently and Coleman doesn't run the right routes. My feeling is that the first of the two to correct his biggest issue will remain on the roster and the other will find a new home.
Nick Toon is in a position to lock up his next contract with a breakout year, but he needs to tune his game up in a couple of key areas to survive training camp. Let's hope that he's picking Colston's brain and buying Brees movie tickets and lunch every chance he gets!
In the words of Lil' Wayne "Sorry for the wait!" Thank you for reading, Be Cool Who Dats!