Penn State Football: 3 best NFL Draft fits for Shaka Toney

Shaka Toney #18 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Shaka Toney #18 of the Penn State Nittany Lions (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Penn State Football defensive end Shaka Toney has the potential to be an early-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

Riding the success of an impressive showing during the 2021 Reese’s Senior Bowl, Penn State Football defensive end Shaka Toney could see his stock rise ahead of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Toney, 6-foot-3 and 252 pounds, was the Nittany Lions‘ most productive pass-rushers the past two seasons, capping his senior season with five sacks in nine games.

Across four seasons in Happy Valley, Toney collected 20.5 sacks, 112 total tackles, broke up four passes, and forced four fumbles as one of the Big Ten’s most feared defensive ends.

Pro Football Focus gives Toney an 81.6 pass-rush grade, and credits him with a 16.3 pass-rush win rate.

Put it all together, and there’s a chance Toney hears his name called sometime between Rounds 3 and 5 of the NFL Draft, maybe even higher.

In the NFL, teams will need to determine whether he can retain his explosive first-step and burst off the line of scrimmage as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt, after possibly bulking up during an offseason conditioning program, or if he is better suited in a stand up situational pass-rushing role at outside linebacker.

However, given the dearth of elite pass-rushers across the league, several teams will likely have Toney high on their boards, either as a wide-nine defensive end or rotational player they can deploy as a third-down fastball at opposing quarterbacks.

Here’s a look at three teams that just might be Toney’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft: 

No. 3) Pittsburgh Steelers

At some point during the NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to need to add pass-rush help, particularly in the aftermath of Bud Dupree suffering a torn ACL back in Week 12, that will leave his availability for the start of the 2021 season in doubt.

Cam Heyward remains among more dominant pass-rushers in the league, but he is coming off a relatively disappointing season in which he produced only four sacks in 2020.

Toney could prove to be  a welcomed piece to the Steelers’ historically dominant front-seven that was exposed a bit in the AFC Playoffs when Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns without being sacked.