When the New Orleans Saints selected him in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, wide receiver Nick Toon was expected to do big things down in the Bayou during his rookie campaign. That never happened, though, as the Wisconsin alumnus spent the entire 2012 year on the IR list with a foot injury.
With a redshirt year behind him, Toon will look towards the 2013 season with redemption in mind.
Although Toon slipped on draft day, many saw the former Badger as a NFL-caliber receiver whose after-the-catch abilities and knack for finding the end-zone made him an early threat to produce at the next level. After all, he was the son of former Wisconsin great and NFL standout Al Toon.
One of the main reasons for his slide on draft day was his chronic foot issues, which have plagued him throughout his football career. Toon underwent two foot surgeries in college and was visually limited by the nagging injury on several occasions. Still, the Saints saw enough in him to risk one of their five picks in 2012 on the potential-laden prospect.
While overcoming his foot flaws will be his No. 1 priority in 2013, there are a few other areas that Toon must improve on if he’s going to be a significant cog in the Saints’ passing attack. Throughout college, Toon dropped catchable balls in critical moments, bringing attention to his lack of concentration in the clutch. He also had issues with battling for jump balls, but both of the aforementioned weaknesses are coachable.
Especially in a day and age of the NFL where the passing game reigns supreme, the Saints could use a talent like Toon. He has the skill set to be productive, and a quarterback in Drew Brees who makes his receivers better. At this point, it’s up to him to get healthy and stay there while working out the mental lapses that have handcuffed his potential at times.
The Saints have a solid group of receivers heading into 2013 led by Marques Colston and Lance Moore. Considering that New Orleans annually puts up some of the biggest passing numbers in the league, locking down a No. 3 or No. 4 spot could still allow Toon plenty of opportunities to put his talents on display.
Right now, Toon is facing an uphill battle. With a little drive and determination, though, he can overcome the obstacles that have slowed him thus far. A breakout year is on the horizon for the redshirt rookie.