Jordan Todman, San Diego Chargers running back, warms up before a preseason NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals on Aug. 27, 2011.
Football may have gotten off to a rough start for UConn last week, losing the season opener to FCS Towson, but it ended on a high note Saturday when 17 former Huskies made NFL rosters. That includes for of the five players drafted this April, two of whom have earned starting jobs.
Dwayne Gratz, now a cornerback with the Jaguars, and Sio Moore, a linebacker with the Raiders, are expected to start for their respective teams Sunday. Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson is a backup in Tennessee, and tight end Ryan Griffin is a backup in Houston. Trevardo Williams, also drafted by Houston, was placed on injured reserve, which ends his season.
The 12 other former Huskies now earning a paycheck from the NFL include:
Will Beatty, OT New York Giants
Tyvon Branch, S Oakland
Donald Brown, RB Indianapolis
Darius Butler, CB Indianapolis
Marcus Easley, WR Buffalo
Danny Lansanah, LB New York Jets
Robert McClain, CB Atlanta
Dan Orlovsky, Tampa Bay
Kendall Reyes, DT San Diego
Anthony Sherman, FB Kansas City
Donald Thomas, OG Indianapolis
Jordan Todman, RB Jacksonville
Perhaps the most impressive story belongs to Jordan Todman, the 2010 Big East Offensive Player of the Year who was drafted in the sixth round by the Chargers but didn't stick. After a stint with the Vikings, Todman was signed to the Jaguars' practice squad in Nov. 2012, and that's where he's been ever since. Until this preseason, when a 105-yard effort in a Week 3 preseason game against the Eagles helped cement his place on the 53-man roster.
"I helped myself a little I'm sure, but it takes a lot more than one game to prove yourself and make a team," Todman said at the time. "You can't live off that. I'm happy with my performance and hopefully, I'm here next week."
And here he is. Now the trick is staying.