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Mock Draft Monday: Here's Who Mel Kiper Jr. Has Washington Drafting In The First Round

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Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney (1) runs for a touchdown after a catch during the first half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Alabama, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

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Ron Rivera hit a proverbial home run with his first draft pick as the head coach of the Washington Football Team.

Chase Young, selected second overall, exceeded expectations by making the Pro Bowl, earning Defensive Player of the Month in December and becoming the franchise's first Defensive Rookie of the Year. His game-changing plays, combined with his "crazy unusual" leadership, immediately made him one of the faces of a team on the rise.

Rivera's second swing will be with the No. 19 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, and he'll have a pair of new executives -- general manager Martin Mayhew and executive vice president of football/player personnel Marty Hurney -- helping him make that decision. They'll aim to add another valuable piece to help build a consistent winner.

In anticipation for that selection, which will be made April 29, Washingtonfootball.com will highlight one mock draft from a notable draft expert each week and delve into how that player would fit with Washington. First up is ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr..

Kadarius Toney, WR, Florida

Kiper's first mock draft, which was initially published Jan. 26 and then updated Feb. 7, has Washington bolstering its wide receiver corps by selecting Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney.

"Kyle Pitts got a lot of the attention from people watching the Gators this season, but Toney opened the eyes of NFL scouts," Kiper wrote. "He was a Swiss Army knife, catching 70 passes with 10 scores, adding a touchdown as a runner and one more on a punt return. Think of a Tyreek Hill-type playmaker who can beat teams in a variety of ways."

Toney, a three-star recruit from Mobile, Alabama, was a versatile weapon during his first three seasons with the Gators but lacked the high-level production of many coveted draft picks. However, Toney exploded into the national spotlight this past season by exceeding his previous career totals in catches, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Combine that with his rushing numbers, and the most elusive receiver in this year's draft class finished with 1,145 scrimmage yards, 11 scores and 12.9 yards per touch.

While Toney did not play in the Senior Bowl, his performance throughout the week solidified himself as one of the best wideouts in the 2021 class. The 5-foot-11, 189-pound Toney routinely beat defensive backs at the premier collegiate showcase, so much so that he was voted as the top wide receiver on the American team.

"Toney is a versatile, explosive playmaker," NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said in his top 50 draft prospects story in which Toney ranked 20th. "He lines up in the slot and does a lot of damage on fly sweeps and seam routes. His combination of play strength, burst and wiggle makes him difficult to get on the ground once the ball is in his hands.

"He doesn't run a wide variety of routes, but he has the skill set to develop in that area," he added. "He's dangerous in the return game because of his athleticism and lack of fear. Overall, Toney isn't quite as big as Deebo Samuel, but I envision him playing the same role at the next level."

Like Kiper, Jeremiah had Washington selecting Toney in his first mock draft, writing that "Toney is electric with the ball in his hands, and the Washington Football Team needs more playmakers."

Sure enough, the wide receivers struggled to produce as a whole in 2020. Aside from Terry McLaurin, who established himself as a No. 1 receiver in his second NFL season, the position combined for just 1,142 yards and four touchdowns.

Toney would add another versatile threat to a unit that continued to develop under first-year offensive coordinator Scott Turner. Last offseason, Turned talked about wanting his offense to be "as unpredictable as possible," and drafting Toney would certainly help accomplish that.

"We've already seen Washington get creative with Antonio Gibson," Kiper wrote, "and it should find ways to get the ball in Toney's hands."

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