Undrafted rookie sleeper alert: Keith Toston

When NFL-caliber talent goes undrafted, it’s typically due to an injury or off-the-field issue.  Sometimes, though, “one-year wonder” concerns can adversely impact draft stock when a player has not compiled a lengthy track record of success.  The one-year wonder concern is especially emphasized when the player performs at an average to below average level during pre-draft workouts.

Former Oklahoma State running back Keith Toston did not enter the 2009 college season as a starter, and with no more than 106 carries in any of his first three years was hardly on the radar for NFL scouts.  Persistent knee and ankle injuries to star tailback Kendall Hunter vaulted Toston onto the Cowboys’ first team, however, and the fifth-year senior capitalized with a Big 12-best 5.4 yards-per-carry average and 1,218 rushing yards, good for second most in the conference.
Toston also caught 25 passes.  The 9-4 Cowboys went 1-3 in games that Toston received 10 or fewer carries.  Toston accumulated 140 or more total yards in five of Oklahoma State’s final eight regular season games.  The lone constant for a Cowboys offense that played all but three games without star wideout Dez Bryant, Toston earned first-team All-Big 12 accolades.
Toston went undrafted in April after running a 4.7 forty at February’s Scouting Combine, and following it up with times of 4.6 and 4.62 at the Cowboys’ March 10 Pro Day — a workout that was likely not as populated by NFL officials as it would’ve been had top OSU prospects Russell Okung, Perrish Cox, and Bryant taken part.  Cox was barred from the Pro Day after being suspended for the Cotton Bowl, Bryant was injured, and Okung stood on most of his Combine numbers.
Not prone to negative plays as a north-south runner, Toston lost just 12 combined yards on his 227 carries last season.  He catches the ball well downfield, displays plenty of “game speed,” and exhibits physicality between the tackles.  Toston is well built at 6-foot, 213, and runs at enough of an angle that he’s not subject to devastating hits.
Toston landed with the Rams as a priority free agent.  He’ll compete with underwhelming holdovers Kenneth Darby and Chris Ogbonnaya to be Steven Jackson’s primary backup.  Jackson is coming off back surgery and has played just one 16-game season in his career.  Toston is a good bet to make St. Louis’ 53-man roster, and perhaps even start games if Jackson continues to suffer injuries.

19 responses to “Undrafted rookie sleeper alert: Keith Toston

  1. I would say he’s the key acquisition for anyone with S-Jax in their keeper league. But then again, anyone who keeps S-Jax in their keeper league shouldn’t be playing fantasy football.

  2. “Toston is a good bet to make St. Louis’ 53-man roster, and perhaps even start games if Jackson continues to suffer injuries.”
    Time will tell.

  3. Thanks for the alert. I’ll keep an eye out for him. Make sure not to step on him accidently or wake him suddenly from sleep. The last thing I need is a nasty bite on the calf from a startled rookie free agent. Tetanus shots and all that…

  4. Wow. Great report. All you left out was one thing…..
    How do his balls smell?
    I’m putting my money on “dreamy”.

  5. It is the Rams, after all. If you’re trying to make a roster, not all teams are equal. St. Louis starts a LB that was the last pick last year, and got popped for PED use, to boot. This guy might have a shot.

  6. Rams fan or not you have to love stories like this. It just goes to show that even the greatest scouts have big misses and big hits.
    Good Luck Keith Toston may you have a long and propserous career in the NFL. You will understand what a true blessing it is and how fortunate you are to get this chance.
    As long as you don’t perform well against my Panthers.

  7. Evan,
    Thank you. These are the stories I come to this website for. Keep up the good work.

  8. comment_submission_error says: July 4, 2010 10:31 PM
    It is the Rams, after all. If you’re trying to make a roster, not all teams are equal. St. Louis starts a LB that was the last pick last year, and got popped for PED use, to boot. This guy might have a shot.
    Actually, David Vobora was Mr. Irrelevant in 2008, not last year. That being said, I was hoping the Rams would pick up a running back in the draft because of S-Jax’s injury history. When they didn’t, I was happy to hear they signed Toston. He’s not a big name, but I think he can be a solid backup.

  9. Wordsworth says:
    July 4, 2010 8:29 PM
    I would say he’s the key acquisition for anyone with S-Jax in their keeper league. But then again, anyone who keeps S-Jax in their keeper league shouldn’t be playing fantasy football.
    ____________________
    the keeper league i’m in has 16 teams and we keep 4 players a year.. if you dont think steven jackson should be a keeper you are just crazy.. you can’t tell me you wouldn’t take steven jackson before round 5

  10. Not every keeper is someone I’d take in the 5th round. And this year particularly, there are several guys I would take before him. He has taken a beating for many years, has only played one 16 game season in his career, and is coming off back surgery. I have him in my keeper league where we keep three players, and I’m not even considering keeping him.

  11. Ahh off-season hype. Every franchise has a low round draft pick or undrafted rookie that gets the attention of the media and gets touted as a real prospect. It’s a rite of summer.

  12. The most talented undrafted free agent was Tony Washington of Abilene Christian, who can’t get a job because he had sex with his sister. By NFL standards, that apparently is worse than committing murder since Ray Lewis and Leonard Little are welcome in the league. Even the Raiders refuse to sign Washington, which just goes to show how soft Davis has become. In the 1970s, the Raiders refused to draft anyone who hadn’t had sex with their sister.

  13. This guy will probably get a shot if he makes it through pre-season. There hasn’t been a real solid back for S-Jax in the past couple of years, Darby does a decent job. Spags will let any hard working player earn that backup/situational runningback spot.

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