I noticed during last year's draft that lots of receivers were coming out for the draft (9 Juniors left school last year). Now I know why.
Next year's Senior class is awful. Enough said about that. But we are looking at one of the better Junior class of wide receivers of all time; five receivers from the 2012 draft class grade out as at least as late first round or early second pick. Depending on the number of junior wide receivers entering the draft, senior prospects will be pushed back due to the depth of the receiver class. I simply now know why all these receivers left school, and I think Toliver should have done the same. But onto the scouting report;
Toliver is a huge receiver; 6'4 with solid bulk. He also runs an solid 4.49 40 yard dash, so he has pretty good physical tools for the position. Physically, he seems to bear a lot of resemblance to Sidney Rice to me; great size, solid speed, good bulk, and extremely long arms. But Toliver comes across as really stiff in space, he doesn't provide Rice's athleticism to go up and get the ball without outstretched arms, and he seems to be completely incapable of making defenders miss in the open field.
Toliver possesses very good hands. He also possesses the polish in his game to not frequently trap balls against his frame, which is considered important in the NFL. Toliver also seems like an extremely smart player on the field; he always seems to know where the first down marker is and he can naturally keep his feet in an ideal position to make a tough catch on a ball going out of bounds. But, after watching the Penn State game, I realized he couldn't catch a wet football to save his life.
But, there are a fair amount of issues.
I have always been real high on players that produce statistically. Toliver simply doesn't. Every analyst will say that Toliver's lack of statistical production was due to poor LSU quarterback play. But the fact is, Jordan Jefferson had a solid season in 09'; his 137.2 quarterback rating was good for 38th in the FBS (out of 120 teams). Some people will say Jefferson didn't stretch the field; he only got 2166 yards passing, and he got hardly any yards per completion. But I find that misleading; the thing is, Toliver had a 13.9 yards per catch. That is 119th of all receivers in the FBS (out of the 412 with enough receptions to qualify). Toliver could get yards from Jefferson; he just didn't catch passes. That's one thing Jefferson did really well (61.5% completion percentage, 33rd in the FBS). Toliver can't blame his lack of receptions on Jefferson; that's Toliver's fault, for Jefferson could complete almost all of his passes. Now, in 2010, LSU did have horrific quarterback play. But, Toliver was very poor, getting only 579 yards.
Toliver is a very poor route runner. He lacks quickness in and out of breaks and is pretty slow off the football. His routes are at times pretty lazy, sloppy, and simply not very deceptive. He doesn't seem to use many head fakes in his routes and his footwork is mediocre at best. Toliver will really need to work on his route running to have any success in the NFL.
Toliver has some character issues. Watching him play, his on field intensity is outstanding; he possesses excellent toughness, he puts up a solid effort as a run blocker, and he seems to fight for every yard he can get. But, he seems lazy off the field; he doesn't seem to know all of LSU's plays, frequently running a route he isn't supposed to run, and he was arrested last season outside of a bar, and he ended up being tasered by a police officer while he was resisting arrest. Toliver needs to learn that he needs to work hard off the field as well as on it.
Overall, Toliver is an overrated prospect due to his lack of production and poor athleticism. I have always found being quick in and out of breaks when route running to be an extremely underrated aspect of being a receiver. Toliver desperately needs to reform his route running; with average speed suggested by his 4.49 40 and lack of athleticism, Toliver doesn't possess the speed to be much of a big play threat and he doesn't possess the route running ability to separate from coverage. I can't see him having much success at the NFL level.
NFL Comparison: Limas Sweed with character issues
New Scouting Report(s): I put some more thought into it, changed Jerrod Johnson's grade. None of the scouting report is new, though.