The Pittsburgh Steelers signed Jordan Todman to the 53-man roster the day after final cuts were made, when he was let go by the Panthers, who already had a deep backfield. He served as the backup to DeAngelo Williams for the first two games of the season while Le’Veon Bell was injured, and served as the up back on kick returns.
On Saturday, he will likely serve as the backup to Fitzgerald Toussaint, who was only called up from the practice squad during the team’s bye week, spending the first game after the bye on the inactive list. But for the last five games, he has been ahead of Todman on the depth chart, who has been the one inactive for the past five games.
But there is a reason, after all, that the Steelers wanted to add Todman to the roster, and I think that it says more about what they had seen from Toussaint over the course of the season during practices than about Todman that he was passed over on the depth chart by the running back with the less extensive resume.
Todman entered this season with three years’ worth of accrued NFL experience, originally a sixth-round draft pick of the Chargers in 2011 but ultimately finding his way to the Jaguars in 2012, where he spent the past three seasons.
Over the course of the previous two seasons, he rushed for a combined 442 yards on 108 carries with three touchdowns, but he also added 39 receptions for 314 yards and another two touchdowns. Over the final two weeks of the 2014 seasons, he had 12 carries for 123 yards and seven receptions for 51 yards and a combined two touchdowns rushing and receiving.
As we took a lot at earlier in the season, he was also a capable player in pass protection, and he was also a kick returner for the Jaguars, returning 68 of them for 1762 yards, averaging about 26 yards per return, including four returns for at least 40 yards.
As for Toussaint, he came out of Michigan last year as an undrafted free agent, signing with the Ravens and bouncing on and off the 53-man roster during the year. He spent opening day there, though on the inactive list, was sent back down, and then was brought back up and was active for the third game before being sent back down.
He spent the final three games of the Ravens’ 2014 season on the 53-man roster, active during the games, and in that span carried six times for 12 yards, adding three receptions for 27 yards. He also had two carries in the postseason against the Patriots for five yards.
In contrast to Josh Harris last season, Toussaint at least has had a full NFL season under his belt. He also spent all of the 2015 season up to the final roster cuts with the Ravens, signing with the Steelers two days later three days before the season opener against the Patriots.
It is certainly far from ideal, but the Steelers should be better prepared for the postseason with the stable of running backs that that have this year in comparison to Ben Tate and two rookies, one of which was more of a wide receiver. Both backs have been with the team throughout all of the regular season.
Todman in particular has an NFL resume under his belt as a contributor for the past three seasons in Jacksonville, including one start in 2013 in which he carried 25 times for 109 yards with four receptions for another 44 yards. And he spent the first 11 games of this season active. He should be prepared if called upon.