Throughout January and February, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at some of the players the Jets have signed to futures deals since the end of the season. We continue today with a look at former Philadephia Eagles center Jon Toth.
The 24-year old Toth is listed at 6’5” and 310 pounds but has yet to play in an NFL game having gone undrafted in 2017. He was with the Philadelphia Eagles in preseason and also spent part of each of the last two seasons on their practice squad.
Toth was a four-year starter at Kentucky, as he started his second ever game and then went on to start the next 48 in a row. He was an all-SEC selection in his senior year and led the Wildcats to their first bowl game since 2010.
During the pre-draft process, Toth boosted his stock with a strong performance at the Senior Bowl and most draft experts had him as one of the top five centers in the draft. He was mostly a projected mid-round pick at that time. However, after an underwhelming performance at the combine, Toth went undrafted.
After it was reported that the 49ers were signing Toth as an undrafted free agent, he ended up not signing and instead went and got surgery on his back. That December, the Eagles added him to their practice squad and then signed him to a futures deal at the end of the season.
In 2018, he played for the Eagles in preseason but was released in final cuts. He spent some time on their practice squad before being released and the Jets signed him to their practice squad in October and then signed him to a futures deal at the end of the season.
Now let’s look at what Toth brings to the table, divided into categories.
Toth has nice size and good length, but his combine numbers were disappointing. He ran a 5.51 in the 40-yard dash and the rest of his numbers were also poor.
He had hoped to improve some of his numbers at his pro day, but that was only four days later so he barely showed any improvement.
Toth played center throughout his college career and in preseason action with the Eagles. He’s also theoretically capable of playing guard, but would probably lack the athletic ability to play tackle.
Toth put up some decent pass protection numbers in college, where he only gave up four sacks and five hits in his four seasons.
In preseason action, he was often employed on double teams or as a spare man so he wasn’t exposed to too many one-on-one assignments. On double teams, he combined to knock his man to the ground on a few occasions and then stayed on him to keep him buried.
This play, however, saw him allow the pass rusher to split a double-team which prevented the right guard from being able to vacate so he could pick up the stunting lineman:
When blocking against a bull rusher, Toth will often lose ground to the initial thrust but then can re-anchor himself. However, he was unable to manage to do that on this play:
Toth generally does well at the point of attack, moving his feet well and taking good angles to seal off his man.
On the move, he’s been described as heavy-footed and you can see that on this play as he pulls to the right but gets blown up by Kevin Minter, forcing the run back inside:
He does an excellent job on this short yardage conversion, initially working in tandem with the left guard to drive a defensive lineman out of the running lane and then peeling off to bury a linebacker at the second level:
Toth is technically pretty sound in terms of resetting his feet and adjusting his hand position to maintain a leverage advantage. He usually plays with a solid base and good balance.
However, he also lacks hip fluidity, which can cause him to overextend or bend at the waist and limits his ability to recover when losing an initial leverage advantage.
Toth prides himself on being ambidextrous as he can snap the ball with either hand. That sounds encouraging given what happened to Spencer Long last year when he hurt his finger. However, Toth is not immune to bad snaps of his own:
Penalties haven’t been a major issue for Toth, who had nine in his final three years of college and none in preseason action. The most he had in any college season was four in 2015.
Toth didn’t play on special teams in preseason, but has lined up as a blocker on the placekicker unit at times in college.
Toth is regarded as an intelligent player who was on the academic honor roll in college and handled all of the line calls. He also has good on-field awareness.
He shows a good reaction on this play as he initially looks to pull left out in front of the runner, but then adjusts to the run blitz to seal the linebacker to the inside:
However, this play ended up in a sack as the right guard tried to pick up a stunt and Toth wasn’t ready for the initial assignment to be passed off to him:
Toth is regarded as a dedicated player who is committed to improve and prepares thoroughly. He was considered a leader in college and doesn’t have any red flags for off-field issues.
Toth showed some good durability in college with his 48 straight starts, but then missed most of his rookie year because he had to get surgery on a herniated disc in his back and this made him a long-shot heading into his second season.
Toth is regarded as a player who could be a better fit for a power-based scheme, perhaps due to some of his athletic limitations. However, he fared well in Kentucky’s inside zone scheme and their spread based offense should have some similarities to the Jets’ new offensive system.
Toth’s ill-timed back injury has made him something of a forgotten man after many draft pundits had previously said he was a draftable prospect and had what it takes to be an NFL starter.
From what we saw of him in preseason last year, Toth displayed some flashes of NFL ability, albeit mostly against back-ups. Still, it was rare that he was overmatched, so perhaps he will be able to show he can hold his own if he gets enough opportunities in camp.
With a brand new coaching staff, the Jets will be less likely to simply bring back the same old faces, so this could be an opportunity for Toth to show how high his ceiling is.