I got in touch with a Kevin Meachem, BLOGGER for the UConn Blog, so that we could get more information on one of our latest draft picks. The Bolts selected Jordan Todman out of UConn with our sixth round pick. Here is what Kevin had to say about the new running back:
What kind of a player/person should we expect to see here in San Diego?
I think the Chargers got an absolute steal with Jordan. Despite his size, he was a workhorse at UConn, carrying the ball 25 to 35 times per game, most of the time running against seven or eight in the box. (Nonexistent would be too kind to describe UConn’s passing game last year; suffice it to say that with a lesser back than Todman, we might not have scored an offensive point last year.)
Physically, you’re getting a very tough player who can take hits and keep getting up; he showed only the slightest signs of wearing down at the end of November and early December, at the end of a 330-carry season. Todman has shifty feet and tremendous vision; his ability to pick out the right running lane was something I noticed repeatedly last year. He’s got strong hands, very rarely fumbling, and he has enough speed to be productive at this level.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Todman be a regular kick returner in the NFL (he brought back kicks for UConn even as a starting RB in 2009 and early 2010), because while he’s not especially fast (for a kick returner), his greatest strengths – vision and making the first man miss – make him perfect for this sort of thing.
Todman was more or less a model citizen at UConn; he had a legal issue as a senior in high school, but never had any problems while in school. He also had no problem splitting carries, as he did when he and Andre Dixon each rushed for 1,000 yards in 2009.
How does he do catching passes and blocking for the quarterback?
These are his two question marks, of course, and given that, I was actually a little surprised he went to San Diego (given some of the guys who have played RB for the Chargers recently). Certainly this is why he fell all the way to the 6th round.
His hands are OK – and once he has the ball in his hands, he will hang on to it – but he was rarely utilized as a receiver at UConn. I would attribute that partly to UConn not having a quarterback who could complete a pass in the flat (seriously), and I think he’s probably a little better as a receiver than the scouts give him credit for.
Pass blocking is something he’ll definitely need to work on, and his improvement (or lack thereof) here will determine whether Todman is a fringe specialist or a legit NFL back. Again, at UConn, he was average. He’s a strong guy, and he was fine when he could locate an oncoming pass rusher, but he could occasionally misread the defense and completely whiff on a blitzer.
What NFL player would he be most comparable to (past or present)?
I think Todman’s best-case scenario is to be Warrick Dunn. A perhaps undersized back who runs hard, is capable and willing to run between the tackles, has some speed, and can have some exceedingly productive years given the right situation.
Does he have any nicknames?
Near as I can tell, no. He was once the “lightning” in a “thunder & lightning” RB duo, but I don’t think that counts. I trust San Diegans will find a suitable nickname for Jordan.
Any other fun facts that you think we should know about him?
I happen to think that carrying perhaps the most inept offense ever on an above-average major college football team is pretty fun, but that might be my UConn bias showing.
Todman was looked at as a defensive back by most teams, except for UConn, who wanted him as a RB all the way. While our former coach Randy Edsall’s ability to judge talent was suspect at QB and WR, he’s now produced three NFL prospects over the last six or seven seasons (Terry Caulley, who was derailed by a torn ACL in college, and Donald Brown, now with the Colts). For what that’s worth.