13 Jul Preseason Scouting Notes: Shaka Toney, EDGE, Penn State
Redshirt Senior | 6’3” 236 lbs | Philadelphia, PA
Versatile edge rusher with a plethora of pass rush moves and consistently well-timed hand fights who must improve his ability to contain the run
Shaka Toney plays as a traditional hand in the dirt 4-3 defensive end for Penn state and lines up as the weakside OLB when they shift to a 3-4 look. He’s appeared in 38 games, with all of his 13 starts coming in the 2019 season. In 2018, he tied the school record notching 4 sacks in one game (at Indiana). And in 2019, he was named to the Coaches’ All-Big Ten Second Team. He and Jayson Oweh will form one of the NCAA’s most fearsome pass rushing duos in 2020.
– Wide array of successful pass rush moves, including a seemingly unstoppable chop, a speed-rip from a Wide 9, a stab bullrush with leverage, and a double hand swipe
– Veryt consistent in initiating contact with OL first
– Almost always able to keep one arm free when engaged with a blocker
– Very athletic with good ankle bend to dip under and rip through blockers. This can create holding penalties
– Ability to get skinny between down blocks results in running lanes getting blown up
– Physical and effective re-router in pass coverage
– High motor that makes him a threat on extended plays and pursuit
Areas to improve:
– Serious liability when setting the edge. Often gets drawn in at the mesh point and will be taken advantage of by mobile quarterbacks
– Over pursues on run reads and fails to stay disciplined when responsibility is cutback
– Not as effective or explosive attacking from a 2-point stance
– Stunts are relatively slow and not a serious threat to OL
– Must remember to communicate when in pass coverage. Easy for players to run open on crossing routes away from him
Currently, Toney has the looks of a Day 3 pick, but he has a realistic shot to end up as a Day 2 selection with another year of seasoning. Toney is a relatively difficult player to project because he can play so effectively as an undersized 4-3 end. But at the same time, Toney projects best as a 3-4 edge rushing OLB despite his inexperience as a stand-up rusher. This is due to his size and lack of true power to set the edge, but also because of his ability to re-route effectively in coverage. His traits should reward him an opportunity to get involved in a team’s defensive rotation and be a solid contributor entering the 2021 NFL season.
What to watch in 2020:
Shaka Toney has a lot of momentum going for him coming into this year. He is no longer overshadowed by Carolina Panthers’ second round pick, Yetur Gross-Matos. He is the guy. New DL coach John Scott Jr. is already speaking highly of Toney, and starting CB Tariq Castro-Fields has said that Toney is the leader of the team. While undersized as a 4-3 down edge rusher (listed at 236 pounds on Penn State’s website), he has reportedly put on weight to get him to around 250 pounds, which should help his edge setting ability.
- From just outside of Philadelphia, Zach is a passionate fan of his Philly teams.
- A Rutgers graduate in 2017 with a B.A. in Criminal Justice & Psychology, and then Winthrop University in 2019 with a M.S. in Sport & Fitness Administration.
- In 2018, he was an assistant football coach for Chester High School, going undefeated and winning the state championship during his time there.