Sunday, 15 April 2012

This is one Toon I'm gonna stay tuned to

Nick Toon #1 hopes to emulate his father's NFL success by getting drafted this month

Back in the mid 1980s I fell in love with the sport of American Football. Personally I was never fast but I was above average height, and it was maybe for those reasons that I found the position of wide receiver to be the most fascinating of all.

My hero from that time, and still my hero to this day is former Washington Redskins wideout Art Monk. Not far behind in my hero worship from the time of Rubix cubes and luminous fingerless gloves (yes I did have a pair) was a lesser know star wideout by the name of Al Toon.

Drafted #10 overall in 1985 by the New York Jets, Toon had a respectable rookie season (46 catches for 662 yards and three touchdowns). He followed that with three remarkable seasons for that time period, going to three consecutive Pro Bowls (86,87 and 88) including being a first-team All-Pro in 1986 and leading the whole NFL in catches in 1988 (93).

Unfortunately for Toon he only won a single playoff game in his eight-year career in the NFL, not a fitting legacy for a wideout who was ultra-reliable for the best part of a decade.

Toon went to college at Wisconsin, which is where we can now fast forward twenty-years from when he last played, and look forward to his son Nick entering the 2012 NFL Draft.

Nick, also a wide receiver, has just finished his college career as a Wisconsin Badger, having surpassed his dad in catches and yards, but funnily enough not touchdowns. Here are the father and son's college stats to compare;

  • Al Toon (1982-1984) Catches 131, Receiving Yards 2103, Touchdowns 19 16.1 yards a catch
  • Nick Toon (2008-2011) Catches 171, Receiving Yards 2447, Touchdowns 18 14.3 yards a catch
As a senior in 2011 Toon caught 10 touchdown passes and led the team in receptions with 64, narrowly losing in the 2012 Rose Bowl (38-45 to the Oregon Ducks).

Toon led all wideouts in the Rose Bowl, with 9 grabs, including an 18 yard 3rd quarter touchdown catch. Toon's sticky hands helped his quarterback, fellow senior Russell Wilson to become the most efficient passer in the entire NCAA in 2011 (a staggering 191.8 passer rating).

When it comes to the 2012 Draft it is unlikely that Nick Toon will be drafted any where near as high as his father was at #10, but the team that does get him will get an athlete who is 6ft3 and ready to play immediately in the NFL.

NFL Draft Scout has Toon being selected in the 4th round of the Draft in two-weeks, and fellow draft expert website Walter Football has Toon as a late third-round selection.

Either way whichever team gets hold of the son of Al, they will have themselves a helluva football player. I for one think Toon can have himself a career as respectable as his father's.

Toon will no flash up and down the field, but his ability to run into traffic and come out with the ball will serve him well as he gets an NFL uniform on every Sunday for the next decade.

Maybe the Jets will pick him up, and it becomes Tebow and Toon time? Sounds like something to tune into the Cartoon Network to watch.

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