April 28, 2012

Nick Toon, wide receiver, Wisconsin

Nick Toon, WR, University of Wisconsin
122nd overall selection, 22nd pick in the 4th round
6'1 7/8", 215, 4.54 40

The Saints picked up a receiver with NFL bloodlines - the son of former Jets star WR Al Toon and a three year starter for the Badgers.  Tremendous concentration at the catch with penchant for the circus catch while also a reliable receiver on the easy catches.

A willing blocker with a good set of all-around skills and appreciation for nuances of the position.  A smart competitor, Toon will need to focus on separating from defenders with quickness, because his straight like speed will be only adequate in the NFL.  Toon can make catches under duress and in traffic, and has a great 37.5" vertical.

Toon caught 171 passes for 2447 yards and 18 touchdowns in four seasons from four different quarterbacks.  Finished his career with a nine catch, 104 yard, one touchdown performance against Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Tough, but durability concerns sent his stock plummeting from a potential second round grade.  Suffered a concussion, turf toe injury and foot fracture in last two years, the last of which required surgery that kept him sidelined through the spring of 2011.  Recovered from all of that to lead Wisconsin in receiving as a senior, catching 64 passes for 926 yards and 10 touchdowns from Russell Wilson, who was drafted Friday by the Seahawks.  The foot problem returned in the Senior Bowl when he aggravated the foot problem and could be a career-limiting issue.  The Saints' medical staff has surely already checked out the foot and will continue to focus on it.

Toon doesn't have elite speed and isn't a replacement for the role that departed Robert Meachem filled.  In fact, his game is closer to that of Lance Moore.  Behind Marques Colston, Devery Henderson and Moore, Toon will compete with Adrian Arrington, Joe Morgan and Andy Tanner for the fourth receiver job.

Father Al Toon played only one game against the Saints in his eight-year career, but made it count - six catches for 101 yards and three scores from Ken O'Brien in October 1986.

The reviews of Toon's ability at the position are glowing - but the concerns about his injury history are the reason he was available near the end of the 4th round.

Immediately after the Saints picked Toon at 122, four straight defender went off the board that would have been good defensive picks for the Saints, who have pending suspensions on the defense.  Georgia CB Brandon Boykin to the Eagles, LSU CB Ron Brooks to the Bills, Oklahoma LB Ronnell Lewis to the Lions, and Nebraska DT Jared Crick to the Texans.  Clemson CB Coty Sensabaugh went seven picks earlier to the Titans.

Toon wrote on twitter shortly after being drafted: "WHODAT!!!!"

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