A few days ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers signed running back Jordan Todman following his release from the Carolina Panthers and while it might not seem like a huge transaction on the surface, the organization really got themselves a solid all-around player.
Todman The Runner:
Since coming into the league in 2011 with the San Diego Chargers as a sixth-round draft pick, Todman has carried the football 111 times for 450 yards. 32 of his carries (28.8%) have gone for 5 yards or more and while I might be jinxing him, he’s yet to fumble.
Todman can run both inside and outside, but after reviewing five of his games from last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, his specialty seems to be running the outside zone.
Below, in the Jaguars season finale against the Houston Texans, Todman shows how patient he can be while running the outside zone. The Texans do a great job of stretching this play out but Todman smartly cuts back to find an open lane.
Here’s another outside zone run against the Texans going the other direction and Todman quickly hits an open gap and gets skinny for a huge gain.
Below is Todman taking it to the house on an inside run and look at the cut he makes at the second level in addition to the move he makes on the Tennessee Titans safety. The fake jet sweep was nice window dressing to help provide space, but Todman does his share to make this a touchdown.
Todman The Pass Catcher:
So far for his career, Todman has caught 40 passes for 314 yards and he currently owns a 62.5% reception rate. That’s 7.9 yards per catch and while not flashy, it certainly isn’t shabby.
In the gif below, watch how well Todman sells a fake backside block on a double pass trick play that he ultimately catches for a touchdown.
Todman The Pass Protector:
When evaluating NFL running backs, I’m always interested in how they perform without the football in their hands. When it comes to Todman and his pass protection, he certainly doesn’t disappoint.
Perhaps you remember this play below from last season against the Steelers in which Todman cut down linebacker Lawrence Timmons, who was rushing from the outside. That block provided quarterback Blake Bortles an exit lane that resulted in a nice gain.
Watch Todman calmly slide over to his right on this play in order to pickup the blitzing safety. The block allows Bortles space to step up into the pocket and ultimately complete a long pass down the middle of the field for a big gain.
Below is the Jaguars last offensive play against the Texans and they have a chance to win the game. The Texans send the house and Todman easily picks off the first man coming through the a-gap. While the pass was ultimately incomplete, at least Bortles had a chance to get rid of the ball.
Now, to show that Todman’s not perfect in pass protection, below is a clip of him allowing former Steelers linebacker Jason Worilds to hit Bortles. He gave up another quarterback hit in that same game and they were the only two that he allowed all season in his 75 pass blocking opportunities, according to Pro Football Focus. Not bad at all.
Todman The Special Teamer:
Need a kickoff returner? Todman can do that as well. He currently has a career kickoff return average of 25.9 yards on 68 opportunities. Last season, the Steelers averaged 21.7 yards per return as a team and over the course of the last two seasons, only two players have returned more kickoffs than Todman has. Additionally, of the 13 players who have returned 40 or more kickoffs over the course of the last two seasons, Todman’s 26.3 yards per return average is sixth-best.
Need a player to cover kickoffs? Yes, Todman can do that as well. In fact, he finished the 2014 season tied for second on his team in total special teams tackles and all of those came in the Jaguars first nine games.
As you can clearly see, Todman is indeed a very well-rounded running back. In fact, he sort of reminds you of former Steelers running back Mewelde Moore and head coach Mike Tomlin just loves those types of players. Todman will more than likely back-up DeAngelo Williams in the Steelers first two games of the 2015 season and when starter Le’Veon Bell returns from his suspension in Week 3, I will be shocked if the Connecticut product is turned loose.