SOUTH BEND, IN - NOVEMBER 21: Jordan Todman #23 of the Univeristy of Connecticut Huskies carries the ball during the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on November 21, 2009 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jordan Todman was certain that he wouldn't be drafted last Thursday, the first round of the NFL Draft, but he probably had no idea that he would have to wait until late Saturday, midway through the sixth round, to finally hear his name called.
The San Diego Chargers ended the misery, taking him with the 183rd pick, and all that matters now is that he's headed to the NFL.
"Everything happens for a reason," Todman told the Hartford Courant moments after he was selected. "I'm sure there are places everybody else thought they would be taken but I was taken where I was. There's nothing else I can do about it except make the most of it and go out there and bust my butt."
In the days and weeks leading up to last weekend, the mock-draft groupthink had Todman going in the third round -- possibly the second -- and no later than the fourth. Turns out, he wasn't even the first UConn running back to go off the board; Anthony Sherman went to the Cardinals in Round 5 (pick 136).
So what happened?
I have no. ... I honestly don't know," Todman said, according to the Courant. "I have, honestly, no idea and it's crossed my mind a bunch of times but nothing came to me as a reason why. I have no issues. I'm healthy. I felt like my film did a lot of talking for me. I performed well at the [scouting] combine, so to be honest I have no explanation."
Usually, NFL teams tell a player that they like him, and that, if things shake out just right, they will select him in a certain round. No doubt Todman had such conversations. It's just that as the draft progresses, and as certain players are taken by other teams while others become available, the process becomes muddled. The Chargers went into the draft needing an edge rusher. They didn't get one. Not because they didn't want to, but the way the picks went off the board in front of them dictated that they address other needs. And that's likely what happened to Todman. A third-down back isn't a glaring need for any team, and because of the way things played out, Todman lasted until the sixth round.
But that doesn't mean his NFL career is doomed before it starts. San Diego took Todman as insurance against losing running back Darren Sproles, a 5-6, 190-pound dynamo. Sproles' contract is up and it won't be cheap to keep him, although San Diego will try.
As for running backs overall, one went in the first round, five in the second, three in the third, seven in the fourth, and four in the fifth -- 20 in all -- before Todman was drafted.
Interestingly, the New England Patriots were thought to have interest in Todman but ended up taking running backs Shane Vereen (Cal) and Stevan Ridley (LSU) with back-to-back picks in the second and third rounds.
Things didn't work out like Todman hoped but the bottom line is that he was still drafted, just a few rounds later than anyone thought. But instead of bemoaning his fate, Todman is using it as motivation: "I definitely have a chip on my shoulder now."
And that's all you can do, really.