JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The lowest point of Urban Meyer’s first NFL draft came courtesy of the New York Giants.
Meyer told ESPN’s College GameDay on Friday that it “broke his heart” when a team selected a player he was targeting with the 25th overall pick. Meyer reluctantly admitted on Saturday that the player was former Florida receiver Kadarius Toney, whom the New York Giants took with the 20th pick.
“I’ve gotten to know him over the last couple weeks and obviously my connection with [Gators] coach [Dan] Mullen and those guys,” Meyer said. “You watch [Toney] play, he’s a human highlight reel.”
With Toney gone, Meyer and the Jaguars opted for Clemson running back Travis Etienne. He actually is a better fit based on the way the Jaguars plan to use him– similar to the way Meyer used Percy Harvin when he was the head coach at Florida.
Harvin lined up in the backfield, in the slot, at receiver and ran for 1,852 yards and 19 touchdowns and caught 133 passes for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns in three seasons for the Gators. In addition to rushing for an ACC-record 4,952 yards and 70 TDs in four seasons for the Tigers, Etienne also caught 102 passes for 1,155 yards and eight TDs — including 85 receptions for 1,020 yards and six TDs in the last two seasons.
Toney caught 120 passes for 1,590 yards and 12 TDs and ran for 580 yards and two TDs in four seasons at Florida.
“He’s much more than a running back,” Meyer said of Etienne. “He’s a slash. We did not recruit him just because he’s a running back. We probably wouldn’t have. He’s a guy that had a lot of production in the passing game at Clemson. He’s got excellent hands and he’ll be dual trained.
“Those [dual-threat players] are hard to find, too, but if you can find one we know how to use him. With him I expect him [to make] an instant impact.”