Penn State Football’s Shaka Toney turning heads at Senior Bowl (VIDEO)

Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Penn State defensive end Shaka Toney (Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports) /

Penn State Football pass-rusher Shaka Toney arrived in Mobile Ala., this week for the Senior Bowl with a chance to dramatically improve his 2021 NFL Draft stock, and early returns from practice suggest he’s doing exactly that.

The Nittany Lions‘ standout has flashed the burst and quick-step explosiveness that made him one of the Big Ten’s most productive edge rushers the past two seasons, and reinforced why the Senior Bowl committee was intent on bringing him to the annual all-star showcase.

“He’s really bendy,” Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy told Victory Bell Rings. “Shaka knows how to rush the passer, and has a really high motor.”

In addition to being a disruptive pass rusher, Toney showed during Wednesday’s practice that he’s plenty capable of dropping into coverage against tight ends, when called upon.

Toney, in addition to producing 88.4, 75.5, and 79.9 pass-rush grades during his collegiate career, has strong enough hands to be a playmaker when asked to drop in coverage — particularly against contested passes.

One of the biggest questions for Toney will be if he can retain his burst and explosiveness if he’s asked to bulk up and play defensive end at the NFL level, from his current 6-foot-3 and 252-pound frame.

In three seasons, Toney finished with 112 total tackles, 20.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and four pass breakups in 40 games.

If Wednesday’s rep is any indication, Toney has the instincts to hang in coverage when necessary, which will only help push him up boards for teams that are already sold on him as a pass rusher.

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