2015 NFL DRAFT
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Greg Toler

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 191 | College: St. Pauls College
 
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Overview

Toler was one of the premier athletes in the Washington D.C. prep ranks, the talented defender never got the opportunity to wear a college uniform, much less earn a high school diploma.

Toler exhausted his first chance at football stardom at Northwestern High School because of poor grades. Once recruiters from Division I schools viewed his high school transcripts, he was not interested. His grades made it a struggle to stay eligible for his senior football season.

At the end of his senior high school season, Toler was ineligible to attend high school all-star games, missing a chance to earn an athletic scholarship from a major university.

"I never took my grades seriously like I should have," he said. "My coaches kept telling me that education's first, that you'll never be a student-athlete unless you're a good student."

After graduation, Toler wound up as a storeroom clerk at JCPenney, stocking shelves and sweeping aisles. He was living at home with his mother and older brother, knew he had the potential to be a college athlete, but that opportunity, he figured, was gone. That was until he met Wilson High School football coach Mark Martin, who recruited Toler for his semipro football team, the D.C. Explosion.

After a few games with the Explosion, Toler was approached by Kevin Grisby, a defensive coordinator at Saint Paul's College, the historically black school tucked into the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Virginia. Budget cuts killed the college's football program in 1987 but wanted back in, billing itself as the place giving recruits a second chance. It was a school where players with Division I talent could continue to play despite previous off-field problems.

Grisby immediately found a disciple in Toler, whose father had died in the Lorton prison while serving time for drug possession, and he used the one year that St. Paul's competed as a club team to focus on his grades.

"It started off rough, but we worked his grade-point average up, meeting once a week just to talk about his academics," said Grisby, a former NFL safety with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Toler quickly grabbed a starting position at left cornerback, going on to start his next 40 contests. He set school career records with 14 interceptions, 36 pass breakups and 50 passes defended (average of 0.80 passes defended per game was the top career mark for active Division II players in 2008).

In his first college season, Toler garnered All-CIAA first-team honors, in addition to making the league's All-Rookie squad. In 10 games, he recorded 38 tackles (24 solo) with three stops for loss. He recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and broke up 13 passes in 2005. His six interceptions tied for 18th in the NCAA Division II ranks, while his total of 19 passes defended placed third nationally.

In 2006, Toler produced 35 tackles (24 solo), picking off one pass while batting down three others during a "sophomore slump." He bounced back with a banner junior campaign, receiving All-CIAA first-team honors. He had an interception with seven pass deflections, averaging 8.2 yards on ten punt returns and 16.8 yards on six kickoff returns. He also ranked eighth on the team with 37 tackles (16 solo), as he did not allow a pass reception in four of 10 games he started.

The left cornerback earned All-CIAA and Little All-American first-team honors in 2008. He placed fourth on the team with a career-high 51 tackles (37 solo), including 4.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He tied for ninth in the nation and second in the league with six interceptions and set the school record with three blocked kicks, returning one blocked punt for a touchdown. He knocked down 13 other tosses, as his total of 19 passes defended tied for the CIAA title while ranking second nationally.

Analysis

Positives: He has good change-of-direction agility and the sudden burst needed to close on the play. He will generally stay under control coming out of his pedal and has the natural ability to open his hips in order to generate a quicker second gear. He possesses smooth hips in transition and natural hands to field the ball. While lacking in ideal strength, he shows good athleticism for the cornerback position. Marginal student, but is good picking up schemes and reacting to plays in front of him. Well-liked by staff and teammates. Effective in man coverage and gives total effort on the field. Volunteered to play on all the special team coverage units, in addition to handling return chores. Good toughness in run support (made 23 plays vs. the ground game in 2008) and picks up schemes easily.

Negatives: Toler was hailed as having blazing speed, but he is quicker than he is fast on film. Questionable zone-anticipation ability (stares into the backfield and fails to handle the switch effectively on combo routes). Not the type to make calls and keep defenders in position, but does not need more than a few reps to retain plays. Compliant in the weight room, but his numbers there indicate that he still has a long way to go before he can compete for a position at the NFL level. When he gets too high in his stance, he will take false steps in transition.

Compares To: MARCUS TRUFANT, Seattle -- Toler returned to freshman form in 2008 and has very good quickness on the field. He is a work in progress handling zone coverage responsibilities and lacks the strength to attack ballcarriers. His strength issues also come into play when he fails to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. There is much for him to learn, especially coming from his level of competition. However, cornerback is a position at which you can draft an athlete first and hope to develop his football skills.

Scouting Report

GENERAL REPORT

GRADE: 6.04

Athletic Ability: Toler was hailed as having blazing speed, but he is quicker than he is fast on film. He has good change-of-direction agility and the sudden burst needed to close on the play. He will generally stay under control coming out of his pedal and has the natural ability to open his hips in order to generate a quicker second gear. He possesses smooth hips in transition and natural hands to field the ball. While lacking in ideal strength, he shows good athleticism for the cornerback position. GRADE: 7.0

Football Sense: Toler is a marginal student, but is good picking up schemes and reacting to plays in front of him. He has questionable zone-anticipation ability (stares into the backfield and fails to handle the switch effectively on combo routes). He is not the type to make calls and keep defenders in position, but does not need more than a few reps to retain plays. GRADE: 5.4

Character: Toler is well-liked by staff and teammates. He is a quiet, respectful player who is easy to coach. He has no known off-field issues and is more of a leader by example. He admitted that school work was not a secondary priority for him in high school, but he bought into the program upon his arrival at St. Paul's, knowing it would be his only chance to continue playing football. GRADE: 6.0

Competitiveness: He's effective in man coverage and gives total effort on the field. He will do what coaches ask, evident in his volunteering to play on all the special team coverage units, in addition to handling return chores. He shows good toughness in run support (made 23 plays vs. the ground game in 2008) and picks up schemes easily. He does a good job preparing for his upcoming opponent and will strike with good pop. GRADE: 6.0

Work Habits: Toler is a good worker in practice and he is compliant in the weight room -- his numbers there indicate that he still has a long way to go before he can compete for a position at the NFL level. He has a good team-first attitude and is looked up to and respected by his teammates. GRADE: 5.5

ATHLETIC REPORT

GRADE: 5.98

Key and Diagnostic Skills: Toler has decent field instincts, but needs to show better ability handling the switch when working in a zone. He does not need to take time to digest plays in front of him and has the ability to distinguish between run and pass plays. He is capable of making plays on the ball in man coverage, but will hesitate some in the zone. When he anticipates the pass, he does a nice job of sticking his hand into the action to make the break-up or come up with the key interception. GRADE: 5.7

Man Coverage Ability: Toler has the quickness and open hips to shadow and trail receivers. He shows crisp change-of-direction agility and good closing speed to shrink the cushion. He can latch and trail in the short area but could be a little more aggressive in press coverage. When a receiver gets a step on him, he shows the ability to flip his hips and accelerate. He looks very sharp planting and redirecting. He just looks a little inconsistent when backing off. GRADE: 6.6

Zone Coverage Ability: Toler has to show better anticipation skills working the deep zone. He does not always handle the switch-off decisively and peeks into the backfield too much at times. He is sudden in his movements when he is able to comprehend zone concepts and has good range. He just needs to utilize it with better consistency. He seems to react to threats better in the short area than the deep zone. GRADE: 5.5

Backpedal Skills: Toler is very effective opening his hips and generating a smooth stride coming out of his backpedal. When he gets too high in his stance, he will take false steps in transition. He has a loose pedal that he does not hold for too long and looks natural and continuous in his movements. His ability to change direction and closing burst on the ball will usually have him in position to make the tackle. GRADE: 6.3

Ball Reaction Skills: Toler has a quick burst to close. When the ball is in flight, he shows urgency getting vertical to make plays on it at its high point. Has natural hands but didn't pick off as many passes as you'd expect. He does have excellent acceleration to step in front of the receiver. His above-average plant agility and timing lets him close on the ball in a hurry. GRADE: 6.4

Range/Recovery: Toler has decent range to close on the ball, but needs to get more physical behind his hits. He does a nice job of covering ground when the ball is in the air. He takes good angles to the ball and has no problems trailing the receiver on short and intermediate routes. He does not have the ability to stop ballcarriers with arm tackles and must be in front of the opponent in order to take the ball carrier down. GRADE: 6.2

Jumping Ability: Toler's ability to time leaps to snag the ball at its highest point. He makes good adjustments and show natural hands making plays on the ball. He gets good elevation and will not hesitate competing for the pass in a crowd. In 2005, he ranked third in the nation in passes defended (19) and was second nationally in that category in 2008 (19). GRADE: 6.6

Hands: Toler is a natural hands catcher, but has had some issues in the past, as he would double catch or let it absorb into his body -- resulting in missed interception chances. In 2008, he showed he could have good success when he extends away from the body's frame to catch the pigskin, thanks to better hand-eye coordination. He maintains concentration vs. the ball in flight. He has the hands to make the interception, but several potential thefts have resulted in deflections because he does not always come down with the ball cleanly. He needs to be more aggressive shooting his hands in attempts to jam and press the receiver. GRADE: 6.0

Run Defense: Toler is not timid in run support, but lacks the strength to punish ball carriers. He leaves his chest exposed at times working in-line and is quickly washed out of the play by the bigger blockers. He shows urgency closing on the rush alleys, but can be driven back due to marginal overall strength. GRADE: 5.2

Tackling Ability: Toler will sacrifice his body to make the play. He is just an adequate wrap-up tackler, as he lacks the strength to thud when making the hit. He shows proper technique, but desperately needs to add bulk and more muscle tone to compete effectively at the next level. He is a better open field tackler than in closed quarters, as he relies more on taking angles to make the play. When he stays low in his pads, he is much more effective at taking the ball carrier or receivers down along the sidelines. GRADE: 5.3

Compares To: MARCUS TRUFANT, Seattle -- Toler returned to freshman form in 2008 and has very good quickness on the field. He is a work in progress handling zone coverage responsibilities and lacks the strength to attack ballcarriers. His strength issues also come into play when he fails to jam receivers at the line of scrimmage. There is much for him to learn, especially coming from his level of competition. However, cornerback is a position at which you can draft an athlete first and hope to develop his football skills.

OVERALL GRADE: 5.99

--Report by Dave-Te Thomas

Career Notes

Toler started 40 games at St. Paul's College, recording 161 tackles (101 solos) with 10.5 stops for losses totaling 28 yards … Recovered two fumbles, including one in the end zone for a touchdown … Holds the school career-records with 36 passes deflected, fourteen interceptions for 102 yards in returns (7.29-yard average), 50 total passes defended and five blocked kicks … Gained 121 yards with a touchdown on 13 punt returns (9.31 average) and 163 yards on 11 kickoff returns (14.82 average) … Also caught a pass on a fake punt for a 2-yard loss.

2008 Season

Earned Little All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, D2Football.com and BASN … First-team All-Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association first-team choice … Started ten games at left cornerback, ranking fourth on the team with a career-high 51 tackles (37 solos) and had 4.5 stops for losses of 18 yards … Led a unit that ranked first in the NCAA Division II ranks in pass defense (122.5 yards per game), sixth in pass efficiency defense (93.64 rating) and ninth in total defense (258.70 yards per game) … Ranked tied for ninth in the nation and finished tied for second in the league with a team-high six interceptions for 20 yards in returns … Added 13 pass deflections, as his total of 19 passes defended tied for second in the nation … Blocked three kicks, returning one blocked punt for a touchdown … Had two other punt returns for 39 yards and caught a pass on a fake punt for a two-yard loss … On 69 passes targeted into his area, the opposition caught a total of 24 throws (34.78%) for 291 yards (12.13 yards per pass completion/4.22 yards per attempt) … His main pass coverage assignments managed just ten of those grabs for 127 yards and one score … Eleven of those 24 total catches resulted in first downs, as he delivered 22 third-down stops, including 20 vs. the pass … Added seven other stops on fourth-down plays and posted seven tackles for the special team coverage units (two on the kickoff and five on the punt squad).

2008 Game Analysis

Wingate … Toler opened the season with nine tackles (7 solos), an interception and a blocked kick … He took down receiver Nelson Woods for no gain on a catch during the season's opening series … He started off the second quarter with an interception of a James Hall pass, but was tackled for a 10-yard loss … He chased down Ryan Webber at the SP 11 after the receiver hauled down a 72-yard pass at the end of the first half … QB Cody Haffly was tackled by Toler for a 4-yard loss early in the fourth quarter … Blocked an extra point attempt after that fourth quarter drive … Head to Head Competition-WR#26-Kameron Kranz (6:02-215)-did not catch any passes vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on two other throws and had four passes completed in his area for 85 yards.

Chowan University … Toler posted five tackles (4 solos), including one that stopped tail-back J.J. Spates for a 5-yard loss on a fourth quarter run, as the corner forced Chowan to punt on that series after he jammed James Fox from getting to a third-&-20 toss … Also prevented Fox from getting to third-down throws on an early second quarter possession, with less than two minutes left in the third quarter and again with 7:14 left to play, as Chowan punted after each incompletion … Head to Head Competition-WR#4-James Fox (6:00-188)-did not catch any passes vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on seven other throws and had two passes completed in his area for three yards.

Webber International … The defensive back was in on two solo tackles, as he broke up a pair of passes, intercepted another and returned a punt 17 yards … WIU brought out their punt team after Toler jammed Sergio Rivera from getting to a third-&-10 pass late in the first quarter … Had a 15-yard punt return, fumbles the ball and picked up two more yards on his own fumble recovery … Opened the season half by picking off a Daniel Lafleur third-&-6 pass in the end zone that he brought out 20 yards … Head to Head Competition-WR#11-Sergio Rivera (5:10-190)-caught one pass for 18 yards vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on one other throw and had two passes completed in his area for 21 yards.

Fayetteville State … Credited with seven tackles (4 solos) that included a stop for a 2-yard loss and deflected three passes … Forced FSU to punt on their first possession after he stopped Darryl Barnett from getting to a third-&-12 pass … Tackled Richard Medlin for a 2-yard loss midway through the first stanza … after he deflected a third-&-2 pass away from Barnett in the third quarter, the receiver beat Toler on the next snap for an 8-yard scoring grab … Head to Head Competition-WR#19-Darryl Barnett (6:04-210)-caught two passes for 12 yards and an 8-yard touchdown vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on two other throws and had four passes completed in his area for 56 yards and one score.

Johnson C. Smith … Toler bounced back from giving up his only touchdown pass in 2008 with seven tackles (5 solos), an interception, two pass break-ups and an assisted stop for a loss … Took down Kevin Hall for a 3-yard loss on JC Smith's first possession and caught a pass for a 2-yard loss on a fake punt attempt late in the opening frame … Intercepted a Carl Richardson pass at the SPC 24 with five minutes left to play and jammed Jeremy Franklin on a third-&-10 incomplete toss with 1:01 remaining on the game clock … Head to Head Competition-WR#6-Jeremy Franklin (6:03-200)-caught five passes for 52 yards vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on seven other throws and had six passes completed in his area for 60 yards.

Virginia State … Toler registered five tackles (3 solos) with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and a pair of pass break-ups … He took down Brandon Crump for a 5-yard loss on a late second quarter screen pass and ended the first half with an interception of an Edward Davis pass at the SPC 2 with 0:15 left in the second stanza … Head to Head Competition-WR#85-David Jackson (6:02-185)-did not catch any passes vs. Toler, who had two passes completed in his area for one yard.

Bowie State … Toler had his fifth interception for the season, adding five tackles and a pass deflection … Midway through the first quarter, he picked off a Jason Scott pass at the SPC 6, returning it 10 yards … Head to Head Competition-WR#19-Clifton Bould (5:09-172)-did not catch any passes vs. Toler, who had one pass completed in his area for 15 yards.

Elizabeth City State … Toler registered an interception in his third-straight game, as he also made five tackles (4 solos) with a pass break-up … He picked off a Curtis Rich third-&-7 pass to start the second quarter and blocked a PAT attempt early in the final frame … Head to Head Competition-WR#5-Dexter Manley (6:03-190)-caught one pass for 7 yards vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on one other throw and had one pass completed in his area for 7 yards.

Lincoln University … Toler closed out his career with six solo tackles … He also blocked a third quarter punt that he scooped up for a 22-yard touchdown return … Head to Head Competition-WR#19-Steven Rudd (6:05-185)-caught one pass for 38 yards vs. Toler, who rerouted receivers on four other throws and had two passes completed in his area for 43 yards.

2007 Season

All-CIAA first-team choice … Started all ten games at left cornerback, ranking eighth on the team with 37 tackles (16 solos), including 1.5 stops for minus-2 yards and a fumble recovery … Deflected seven passes and intercepted another … Gained 82 yards on ten punt returns (8.2-yard average) and 101 yards on six kickoff returns (16.8-yard average) … Part of a unit that ranked 16th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (101.2 rating) and 26th in total defense (301.9 yards per game).

2007 Game Analysis

Opened the season with five tackles and a pass deflection, as he also intercepted a toss by QB J.D. Moore vs. Wingate … Followed with five hits (3 solos) vs. Chowan and four tackles in the Tusculum clash … Broke up a pass and had five tackles vs. Bowie State … Was in on four tackles with two deflected passes vs. Shaw and totaled seven tackles that included an assisted stop for a loss and a pass deflection vs. Johnson C. Smith … Came up with five tackles (3 solos), a stop for a loss and a pass break-up vs. St. Augustine's … Came up with a key fumble recovery after receiver Billy Wiggins dropped the ball at the SPC 4 vs. Elizabeth City State.

2006 Season

Started ten games at left cornerback, recording 35 tackles (24 solos) and 1.5 stops for minus-4 yards, ranking seventh on the team … Deflected three passes, picked off another and blocked a PAT attempt … Field a punt for no return and had an 11-yard kickoff return.

2006 Game Analysis

Blocked a PAT after a 1-yard touchdown run by Rashad Jennings and made four tackles vs. Liberty … Deflected two passes vs. Tusculum and had two more break-ups to go with three tackles vs. Johnson C. Smith … Registered seven tackles (4 solos), as he stopped Thomas Boyd for a 2-yard loss on a fourth quarter third-&-9 reception vs. Virginia State … Posted two solo tackles and intercepted a Lamar Manigo third-&-8 pass at the SPC 4 in the first quarter vs. Bowie State … Closed out the season with nine tackles (6 solos) and a pass break-up, as he teamed with James Franklin on a first-&-goal running play to stuff James Pettway for a 4-yard loss as time expired in the first half vs. Shaw.

2005 Season

All-CIAA first team and league All-Rookie Team selection … Took over left cornerback duties, ranking 18th in the nation with six interceptions for 82 yards in returns (13.7-yard average) … Deflected 13 passes, as his total of 19 passes defended ranked third in the nation … Made 38 tackles (24 solos) with three stops for minus-4 yards … Recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown and blocked one kick … Returned four kickoffs for 51 yards (12.8 avg).

2004 Season

Competed on the St. Paul's College club football team.

Injury Report

No injuries reported.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.45 in the 40-yard dash … 1.55 10-yard dash … 2.60 20-yard dash … 4.18 20-yard shuttle … 6.95 three-cone drill … 33.5-inch vertical jump … 9'8" broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds 13 times.

Combine: Did not receive an invitation.

Private workout: 4.37 in the 40-yard dash … Bench pressed 225 pounds 14 times.

High School

Attended Northwestern (Washington, D.C.) High School … The two-time All-Metro choice competed as a cornerback, wide receiver and return specialist … Ruled academically ineligible for post-season competition after his senior campaign.

Personal

Criminal Justice major … Born 1/02/85 … Resides in Washington, D.C.

 
Latest News
04/28/2009 - A closer look at the Cardinals' picks: Round 4/131 -- Greg Toler, CB, 6-0, 185, St. Paul's College...Another surprise, since cornerback wasn't labeled an area of need. Toler runs the 40 in the high 4.3s and has the raw skills to have success eventually. The Cardinals had good luck last year with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, another small-school corner.

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