Cole Toner is an interesting depth piece for the Chargers due to his ability to play all five position along the front five if given the need. He’s played both guard and center while in the NFL and spent time at tackle while in college. But let’s run it back and learn a thing or two about Toner, shall we?
A native of Greenwood, Indiana, Toner attended Roncalli High School in nearby Indianapolis. He was a four-year letterman in both football and basketball, but the gridiron is where he knew he could make the biggest impact for his life. As a senior in 2011, Toner was named to the 4A First-Team All-State squad while also being selected to the Indiana Football Digest Prime Time Top 25 Players list.
Toner attended Harvard where he was a four-year letterman and a three-year starter for the Crimson at right tackle. He started each of the 34 games he participated in and was a two-time First-Team All-Icy League selection as a junior and senior.
Harvard's Cole Toner on Carl Nassib here. Good matchup. pic.twitter.com/mlyVt4Gdcl— Ethan Young (@EthanYoungFB) January 28, 2016
In his final collegiate season, Toner started just nine games but was still selected as a First-Team FCS All-American by both STATS and the AP. He was also invited to participate in the Reese’s Senior Bowl down in Mobile, Alabama where he got the chance to compete against the best senior talent in the country.
Toner was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft with the 170th pick. However, he spent just a single year with the team, seeing playing time in three game total, before being waived prior to the 2017 season. He didn’t see any time on an active roster that year, but spent time on the practice squads of the Bengals and Patriots before signing on with the Chargers.
He’s been a mainstay on the Bolts’ practice squad over the last two seasons and he’ll be gunning for a spot on the back end of the Chargers roster come September.
Years with team: 1
“Cole Toner signed a 1 year, $750,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $750,000. In 2020, Toner will earn a base salary of $750,000, while carrying a cap hit of $750,000.” - Spotrac.com
Versatility is always the best friend for players trying to make the Chargers roster. This team has made Toner a priority to keep on the practice squad because of his ability to play numerous positions in a pinch.
During his first preseason with the Cardinals in 2016, Toner was graded as the best offensive guard according to Pro Football Focus.
When Toner was a member of the Chargers last season, it was the first time in his career he had stayed with the same team in consecutive years. Before, he had been on four teams in as many seasons.
While a smart and heady player, Toner isn’t that great of an athlete and has struggled to break through to any active roster since his rookie season. He lacks adequate functional strength and he struggles to keep up with both NFL power and speed. It might be too late for Toner to break through on this team if it hasn’t happened already.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
Toner likely doesn’t have much of a chance to make the final roster unless the team keeps 10 total offensive lineman. If the Chargers keep one backup for each of the five positions, than a hole will be left at the right guard spot which could be the place for Toner. If he does make the final roster, don’t expect to see him step on the field or see meaningful snaps unless a rash of injuries shows its’ head once again.