Nick Toon is running the 40-yard dash and jumping in the vertical here in Indianapolis today, but the Wisconsin wideout will wait to showcase more of his skills at the Badgers’ pro day on March 7. The son of one of the greatest receivers in Jets history — Al Toon — could be an early-round selection in April’s draft.
“I think first and foremost as a receiver, you want to have good hands. I have great hands and your job as a receiver is to catch the ball. I think I do a great job of that,” Nick told a group of reporters on Saturday at the NFL Combine. “The other thing is I think I’m a complete player, polished in a lot of aspects of the game. Obviously no one is a perfect player, but right now I don’t think I have any glaring weaknesses. I try to work and continue to improve all of the skills that are part of being a receiver and I’ll never stop trying to get better.”
An All-Big Ten second-team selection by the conference’s coaches, Toon is coming off a 64-catch, 10-TD campaign. Those numbers rank third and second respectively in Wisconsin annals and he capped off a wonderful college career with a nine-catch, 104-yard effort against Oregon in the Rose Bowl.
“My potential still definitely is not reached. I still think I have a long way to go,” he said. “By no means have I reached my full potential and I’ll continue to get better as a player.”
Toon broke out his sophomore campaign in 2009, hauling in 54 receptions for 805 yards. He battled through injuries in 2010 but still managed to finish second on the team in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. The 6’2”, 220-pounder did not participate at the Senior Bowl after breaking scar tissue in his left foot, which previously had a stress fracture.
“Obviously the goal is always to be healthy and I struggled with injuries a little bit my last two seasons,” Toon said. “But it’s part of the game. You have to take it for what it’s worth, learn from it, get healthy and move forward. It’s just an obstacle and there will always be obstacles in this game, whether it’s an injury or a dropped pass as a receiver or a blown assignment. Mistakes happen. Nobody’s perfect and you learn from them, try not to have too many of them and move forward.”
Just a youngster when his father retired, Nick doesn’t have many memories of Al’s playing days in New York. He recalled going on the field after his dad’s final game as a pro as well as visiting the Jets’ former practice facility, Weeb Ewbank Hall, in Hempstead on Long Island.
“I remember hanging out at the facility, playing around on the practice field and in the locker room and stuff,” he said.
Al Toon, who played for the Green & White from 1985-92 and was inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor last year, ranks third in franchise history in receptions (517), fourth in receiving yardage (6,605) and tied for eighth in TD receptions (31).
With Plaxico Burress scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent when the league year commences on March 13, the Jets appear to have an opening at the No. 2 position. They can opt to fill the void either in free agency or the draft, and the son of one of the franchise’s legends is confident he can help an NFL club.
“First and foremost you have to catch the ball. That’s your job as a receiver,” said Nick. “I feel I’m an above-average route runner. You have to be good blocker, a playmaker. There are a lot of things that go into being a successful receiver. Those are just a few of the things I think I do well, but I really do well with everything that’s required to be a receiver.”
We had an opportunity to speak with Nick Toon this weekend and we’ll air that exclusive 1-on-1 later this week.
Tags: Al Toon, Indianapolis, NFL Combine, Nick Toon, Plaxico Burress, Wisconsin
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