It was something of a surprise when fullback Anthony Sherman was the first UConn player selected in the 2011 NFL Draft, even ahead of the Big East offensive player of the year, running back Jordan Todman. But that decision has proven to be a smart one for the Arizona Cardinals, an outfit that continues to search for a starting quarterback. Whomever wins the job between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton this much is certain: the fullback position has long been settled.
Sixteen months ago, the Cardinals called Sherman the best fullback in the draft and he's done nothing to change their minds. He started seven games as a rookie (and appeared in 15), but had just one rushing attempt. He also caught eight passes for 72 yards. In three preseason games this month, Sherman's looking for his first carry (hey, he's a fullback -- his job is to block) but has three receptions, including a touchdown grab against the Raiders during Friday night's preseason action.
Todman, meanwhile, is still looking to establish himself in the league. A sixth-round pick of the Chargers, he was released last season before catching on with the Vikings. He's missed the team's first two preseason games because of an ankle injury. He's currently listed with Derrick Coleman behind perennial Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson (who's recovering from an ACL injury), Toby Gerhart and Lex Hilliard. Which means that unless Todman can get on the field and start opening some eyes, he could be a candidate for the Vikings' practice squad.
The Chargers also went to the UConn well in the 2012 draft, selecting defensive lineman Kendall Reyes in the second round. The idea was to shore up a decidedly mediocre defense, which is exactly what Reyes and first-round linebacker Melvin Ingram have done. Here's CBSSports.com's Dan McClellan following San Diego's 28-20 victory over Dallas Saturday night: "There were bright spots in the comeback win. OLB Melvin Ingram (round one, 18th overall pick) and DE Kendall Reyes (round two, 49th overall pick) frequently helped collapse the pocket and got pressure on the QB."