The first round of the NFL Draft came and went last night without a Huskies player hearing his name called. That wasn't a surprise; running back Jordan Todman is probably the highest-rated former UConn player and he's projected to go somewhere between Rounds 2-4.
But based on how the first 32 picks unfolded, we can get an idea of which teams might be interested in Todman going forward. We wrote on Wednesday that Todman doesn't fit every NFL offense. At 5-9, 200 pounds, the former Big East Player of the Year is more in the mold of Ray Rice or Jamaal Charles than Peyton Hillis or Adrian Peterson. But that's not a bad thing; more NFL clubs are looking for change-of-pace backs and Todman fits the description.
One team that could be interested in Todman: the New England Patriots. Pre-draft speculation had them taking Alabama running back Mark Ingram with one of their two first-round picks, but after selecting offensive tackle Nate Solder 17th overall, the Patriots traded out of the first round. They will have five picks heading into Rounds 2-3 on Friday and they still have needs at running back.
“We thought [trading down] was good value for the pick and we feel like there are good players on the board that will give us good value with the picks that we have [Friday],’’ Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “We certainly gave up something in moving back, but we felt like what we got in return for that was beneficial to the organization and the team.’’
With so many picks, there's every reason to think New England has Todman on their radar. But even if they end up going in another direction, Todman will likely hear his name called Friday. NFL offenses, more and more, are relying on a stable of backs to share the burden, spreading carries across several players. This reduces injuries, prolongs careers, and perhaps most importantly, mitigates the need to sign one feature back to a huge contract when an organization can sign two or three players for the same value and similar production.
For now, we wait. That said, Todman's Friday night plans don't involve sitting anxiously in front of the television. "I'm going to stay at home, play some Call of Duty with my little brother and relax," he said, according to the Hartford Courant.