Inside 1925 Giants Drive, they close their eyes and open their imaginations to how and why a healthy Kadarius Toney can take the league by storm.
As a rookie first-round draft pick, Toney too often looked like a fish out of water, a baby kept in the NFL woods of Eight Mile, Ala., whose social media feathers were all too easily ruffled . There were times when you wondered if Yung Joka — his rap alter ego — would turn out to be a cruel joke on then-general manager Dave Gettleman.
Toney’s rare talent, a growing bond with his teammates, increased comfort in the building and on the ground thanks to the arrival of new head coach Brian Daboll and a new culture are changing the narrative from lightning rod to lightning in a bottle.
“The way he can make people miss with the ball in his hands, it’s hard to really compare him to anyone,” Kenny Golladay told The Post. “You have like Tyreek Hill, but he got it all figured out and off you go. A guy who is all speed. KT is a bit of both, but he has the ability to really make someone miss in a phone booth.
“I don’t think you can really compare him to anyone else in the league.”
I asked Golladay to compare Toney’s elusiveness to that of rookie Wan’Dale Robinson.
“Wan’Dale is elusive, but there’s a difference between KT elusive and Wan’Dale elusive,” Golladay said. “Wan’Dale is a bit sneaky when it comes to one-step quickness. KT has a hard time with him, I’m not going to lie.
Toney shows his teammates and coaches that football is important to him.
“Ask questions when needed,” Golladay said. “What I will say is that he stands on a certain level. Not everyone is perfect, but I know and I’ve seen that when he misses a game he blames himself more that no coach can really pick on him. It’s just the type of expectation he has for himself.
Toney was restricted in the offseason and had knee arthroscopy, but he’s a quick study with a high football IQ.
“Once you’re on that pitch, that’s the only thing that matters. It comes from people who really care about football,” Golladay said. “And you can say that about him. Like I said, just by making a mental mistake and he comes back on the sidelines, and you care, you care if you made that mistake. It shows a lot there. If you get mad about this, and it’s only day 3 and it’s just a little game, I’m okay with that, because you give as-t.
And players recognize real.
“He’s one of those guys that once you really get to know him, once you’re around him, you realize how down to earth he is,” Xavier McKinney said. “He’s a very nice guy, someone you like to be around. He’s a competitor, I know that. He’s one of those guys who when you go to war want to take him with you. . We like it.”
Golladay: “I would say just a guy who smiles all the time.”
Golladay can be a good mentor for Toney.
“I would say just put up with it,” Golladay said. “He’s more than people think.”
And it looks like Toney will benefit from Joe Judge’s coaching change at Daboll.
“We’re just getting started, but we’ve definitely changed the culture here as far as all the energy goes,” Golladay said. “It makes you want to be around the building. Makes you want to be inside the building, not in the building watching the clock to see when it’s time to leave.
Incorporating a Yung Joka song into practice was a nice touch from Daboll.
“I thank them for doing it because it shows willingness to build a relationship with me,” Toney said.
Neither Toney (39 receptions, 420 yards on 57 targets) nor Golladay (37-521) caught a TD pass last season. If they can stay on the pitch, it will be impossible to replicate in the Daboll attack.
“I love it, man,” Golladay said. “He’s a very friendly receiver. Once we get it all figured out, I think we can do some very special things.
Toney likes the flexibility and freedom of movement.
“It gives a chance to win instead of having to do it a certain way every time,” he said.
The age of Kadarius is coming.