Scouting Jordan Todman

Last week, the Jets signed journeyman running back Jordan Todman.

The 27-year old Todman is 5'9" and 200 pounds and was drafted in the sixth round out of UConn by the San Diego Chargers in 2011. The Jets will be Todman's seventh team in a seven-year career which has so far seen him generate 845 yards from scrimmage with over 750 of those yards coming in 2013 and 2014. He's mostly just been a kick-off returner over the last couple of seasons.


Todman had a productive start to his career at UConn, backing up Donald Brown in his freshman year and then rushing for almost 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns when he became the lead back as a sophomore. He went on to lead the Big East in his junior year with 1,695 yards and was named as the Big East Offensive Player of the Year.

After his junior year, Todman opted to enter the NFL draft and was eventually drafted by the Chargers in the sixth round. However, he didn't make their final roster and ended up on their practice squad.

After his first couple of seasons in the league saw him play in just one game, he finally got his chance with Jacksonville in 2013 and 2014. He had a 100-yard game against the Bills in 2013 and eventually accounted for 372 yards from scrimmage. In 2014, he didn't carry the ball as much but still averaged over five yards per carry and set career bests in pass receptions (25) and receiving yards (198). He also contributed as a return man.

In 2015, he didn't play much, carrying the ball just four times and returning one kick with the Steelers during the regular season. However, he was called upon in the postseason and helped the Steelers beat the Bengals by rushing for 71 yards.

He was with the Colts last year, carrying just nine times but having his best year as a kick returner with a 29.9 yards per return average and his first touchdown.

The Jets added Todman last week and he potentially has a good chance at winning a role as the kick-off return man.


Todman has mainly been employed as a conventional back. It's rare that he'll move into the slot or be part of a two back set and he's only taken a few wildcat snaps. However, the Jaguars often motioned their receivers out wide so he's done that quite a bit in 2013 and 2014, although that was usually just to spread out the defense rather than involving him in the play.


As you can see from Todman's combine numbers, he is a pretty good athlete:

He displays his breakaway speed here, on a long touchdown run:


Running Ability

Todman isn't a big back, so doesn't run with much power or break a lot of tackles, but he will generally fall forwards at the end of a run and fight for yardage.

As you can see on that gif above, he can break long runs and he has a good second gear as he can accelerate away after making a move at the second level.

One of his best traits is his vision. He does an excelllent job of finding running lanes and cuts back to make the first man miss or cause defensive players to overrun the play.

Here's an example of him making a good initial cut but then making a second cut to bounce the run outside for more yards.


Short Yardage

Todman hasn't been used much in short yardage situations over his career. Where he's scored touchdowns, they've tended to come on longer plays. He has had a three and a five-yard touchdown in regular season action.

Receiving Threat

Todman has had some production as a pass catcher, but most of this has just been on dump-offs. He isn't especially proficient as a route runner nor has he shown to be a downfield threat, dropping the ball the only time he was targeted on a downfield route.

Here's a nice example of him following his blockers and showing some of that vision and those running skills to turn a short pass into a long touchdown:



Todman is not a particularly natural pass catcher. He dropped a couple of passes right in his chest because he tried to body catch them and juggled them to the ground. His overall drop rate isn't that bad, with the only others coming on inaccurate throws that were difficult to handle anyway, so any issues here appear to be more to do with technique than concentration.

He hasn't lost a fumble yet in the NFL. He did officially have a fumble in the postseason, but that bounced harmlessly out of bounds. In fact, I believe that was at the end of the run on one of the gifs above.

Pass Protection

Todman is also not particularly comfortable in pass protection. His numbers aren't too bad, but they don't generally rely on him to stay in very long. He's overpowered by bigger players, can be slow to react and whiffed a couple of times on blitzers, either trying to cut them or get his hands on them.

Special Teams

Special teams could be where Todman finds his niche with the Jets. He's twice been in the top 10 for kick-off return average, not including in 2016 where he didn't qualify but his average was the third best in the league for anyone with more than 15 returns.

Once again, his open field vision and breakaway acceleration are big assets here:


He would later run another kick back 61 yards in this same game, which the Colts won 31-26.

It's not just as a kick returner that he can contribute though. He also has 18 career tackles in kick coverage and recovered a blocked punt for a touchdown in preseason:



Todman's instincts are generally good in terms of his vision and open-field running but he's not immune to mental errors, as this play shows:


Three of his four career offensive penalties have been dead ball penalties too.


Todman has been praised over the course of his career for his work ethic and attitude. On the field he can get fired up after a play and was visibly furious with himself after screwing up that punt shown in the gif above.

He's had two personal fouls in his career although one was for a late hit which the NFL later admitted was a bad call.


Todman has been relatively injury free since he missed the first two games of his freshman season at UConn with a shoulder injury. He did get placed on injured reserve late in the 2012 season with a calf injury though.

He had some minor issues with his thigh and his shoulder again in 2013 but has otherwise not been listed on any injury reports since 2011.

Scheme Fit

Todman has been with six other teams, so by now you'd expect him to be able to play in any kind of system.

In terms of what he does best, he looks good as a one-cut runner. He shows that here, picking a lane and showing burst and acceleration at the second level:



As noted above, Todman's best chance to make this team is perhaps as a kick-off returner. That's a job he's done consistently well in the past and one which suits his skill-set well too.

As a runner, his film is not unimpressive either and he can be productive in the passing game. He's perhaps not big enough to be a lead back but certainly could slide into a return man role with the ability to start games in the event of an injury crisis.

UP NEXT: We'll take an in-depth look at how Demario Davis performed last year. Was his role any different to what he did in New York and did he show development in any areas?