Giants rookie Kadarius Toney talks Daniel Jones, late friend, 2021 NFL Draft

Giants rookie Kadarius Toney talks Daniel Jones, late friend, 2021 NFL Draft

Post columnist Steve Serby catches up with the Giants’ first-round draft pick, Florida Gators wide receiver Kadarius Toney, for a debut Q&A.

Q: Tell me about your first interaction with Daniel Jones.

A: He took me out to eat, as a matter of fact.

Q: Where?

A: Mastro’s.

Q: What were your impressions of him?

A: He’s cool. He kind of reminded of [Florida quarterback] Kyle Trask, like just a smart, dedicated all-in quarterback.

Q:. Which steak did you have?

A: The filet.

Q: What do you know about him?

A: I know he’s got a cannon on him, he’s a smart quarterback. He’s got speed too (chuckle).

Q: Speed, too?

A: Yeah, you didn’t see the play where he broke on the Eagles and almost scored? He ended up falling at the end, but he was gone. He outran everybody.

Q: How proud of you would your childhood friend Ja’Christopher McCants, who was killed in a 2018 car crash, be of you today?

A: He was there before it all started. Since I first started playing football, that was like one of my best friends.

Q: Did you think about him on draft night or on the days that followed?

A: Yeah, for sure. I always think about him. I think about him almost every day.

Q: You were friends with him at what age?

A: Since I was probably like 5 years old.

Q: You played high school together.

A: He played defense, mainly.

Q: Was he like you?

A: Yeah, he was just funny, chill, laid back, quiet. A good friend. A real supporter no matter what it was. He used to always be there.

Giants
Kadarius Toney
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Q: Were you broken up when he died?

A: Yeah, for sure.

Q: You went to his funeral?

A: Yeah, I flew down there [Mobile, Ala.].

Q: If you could buy a ticket to watch Kadarius Toney play, would you?

A: Yeah, I would.

Q: Tell me why.

A: It’s probably just excitement, it’s something like people never probably saw before.

Q: Describe your on-field mentality.

A: It’s always an attack mindset. I always attack. Attack mode. Just ready to make a play whenever it needs to be made.

Q: What was going through your mind looking at the Lombardi Trophies in the lobby at the Giants’ facility?

A: I saw that as kind of the standard in a way. One of my goals is to get a Lombardi Trophy before I leave the NFL. After Little League I haven’t won anything. I won like bowl games, but I want like a national championship, something like that.

Q: What do you know about Saquon Barkley?

A: I know that he’s an explosive player ’cause I watched him in college.

Q: What was your first impressions of coach Joe Judge?

A: A cool coach, smart coach. He took a risk on me, so I’m really just thankful for him.

Q: Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett?

A: He seemed like a real smart, genuine man. Everybody welcomed me with open arms, made me feel like I was at home.

Q: What do you recall about Odell Beckham Jr.?

A: Going into my sophomore year, I kind of watched him and saw how he [ran] routes and stuff, too. I just watched him as a base model, like how I’m trying to be when I go out there and run routes.

Q: Can you do the things that he does?

A: I don’t compare myself to nobody. I just be myself. I don’t try to play like nobody. … I try to be a jack of all trades.

Q: What drives you?

A: I’ll say my family and just my passion for the game. I always pictured myself playing football, even when I was a little.

Q: Are you driven to be great?

A: I just try to be the best version of myself. Not even be best in the world. That could be the goal, but I’m not no cocky person like that, I’m humble. At the end of the day, I know it’ll be the best version of myself, and the truth is gonna come out whatever it is.

Q: How difficult was it for you to tell your father, Dana, what happened after the Gainesville police pulled you over three years ago for having an assault rifle in your backseat?

A: It really wasn’t even difficult, because at the end of the day, the situation was what it was.

Q: It was for your protection?

A: It was justified.

Q: He understood that?

A: Yeah, for sure.

Q: What advice did your father have for you?

A: Really, just be smart.

Q: Did you have a conversation with your father, a Navy veteran, about joining the Marines?

A: I remember getting a paper from the Marines, but I always wanted to just play football.

Kadarius Toney
Kadarius Toney playing for Florida.
AP

Q: You were a dual-threat quarterback in high school. Do you think you’ll lobby Coach Judge to play a little wildcat quarterback?

A: My first priority right now is to really just learn what I gotta learn to make an impact.

Q: What is your definition of swag?

A: A person just being their self and doing it the way that they want, like wearing what they want and stuff like that.

Q: On a scale of 1-10, where’s your swag?

A: I say 10. I’m gonna be myself regardless.

Q: If you could test your skills against any cornerback in NFL history, who would it be?

A: I’ll say Deion [Sanders]. He’s the best of the best. Going against Deion’ll probably make me like better.

Q: If you could pick the brain of any receiver in history, who would it be?

A: I’ll probably say Jerry Rice. He’s just a smooth receiver overall.

Q: Describe yourself off the field.

A: Chill, laid back. … I’m no prima donna, like acting funny, doing different stuff. I’m just me. When you see me you’re gonna see me. I’m not no person putting on a persona, nothing like that.

Q: How about on the field?

A: Versatile, quick, elusive.

Q: A former NFL receiver named TJ Houshmandzadeh says you don’t have natural hands.

Q: I don’t really care nothing about nobody making a comment on me (chuckle).

Q: Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer said it broke his heart when he didn’t get a chance to draft you for the Jaguars.

A: I’m just thankful to be a Giant at the end of the day.

Q: What is your favorite memory playing at Florida?

A: Probably winning one of the bowl games that we won.

Q: Favorite high school moment, at Blount High in Eight Mile, Ala.?

A: I’ll probably say the last game of my career. I had like seven touchdowns, 600 yards.

Q: Who were your favorite quarterbacks growing up?

A: Michael Vick, Steve McNair, Cam Newton. I liked kind of all type of players, like Troy Polamalu, LaDainian Tomlinson. I liked the best of the best, I feel like.

Q: Who are your favorite rappers?

A: Young Thug, Future, people like that.

Q: You rap as a hobby, under the alias Yung Joka.

A: It just keeps me balanced, I guess you can say.

Q: Three dinner guests?

A: Martin Luther King, Chris Tucker … my homeboy Chris.

Q: Favorite movie?

A: “Money Talks.”

Q: Favorite actor?

A: Liam Neeson.

Q: Favorite entertainer?

A: Chris Tucker.

Q: Favorite meal?

A: Steak and potatoes. And lobster macaroni.

Q: Career goals?

A: Great player. Somebody that was dedicated. A dog player. Super Bowl winner.