Waterford’s Hurd bypassed, but four other ex-Huskies go on final day of NFL draft

Fullback Anthony Sherman, shown here recording a video promotion during Big East Media Day last August, was UConn's top NFL draft pick on Saturday, going in the fifth round to the Arizona Cardinals.

It turned into an agonizing day for Waterford's Zach Hurd, who waited and waited for his name to appear on the NFL draft board, but never received the phone call that would jump-start the next phase of his life.

If that wasn't frustrating enough, his wait to find a free agent home will continue indefinitely, too.

Hurd, a two-time All-Big East offensive guard at UConn, could have entertained NFL free agent offers Saturday night after being bypassed in the seven-round draft, but now he remains in limbo because negotiations with draft picks and free agents can't begin until the league's lockout ends.

"Truthfully, I don't have much to say right now," Hurd said Saturday night. "I'm sure people understand that I want to take some time to gather my thoughts."

The news wasn't all bad for ex-Huskies Saturday. Four players did go on the final day of the draft - fullback Anthony Sherman (fifth round, Arizona), linebacker Lawrence Wilson (sixth round, Carolina), tailback Jordan Todman (sixth round, San Diego) and linebacker Greg Lloyd (seventh round, Philadelphia).

The biggest surprises were Todman's drop to the sixth round (183rd overall) and the inclusion of Lloyd (237th overall), who suffered a major knee injury in 2009 and played sparingly in his final season.

"The whole situation is insane," Lloyd said during a conference call Saturday night. "... It is definitely the most stressful situation I have ever been in. I was just waiting for my name to be called and waiting to know what I was going to do with my life. To get that call was definitely exhilarating. I can't compare it to anything."

Todman, the Big East Offensive Player of the Year who was projected to go by the fourth round, dropped all the way to the Chargers at 183 after leaving school a year early to make himself eligible for the draft.

"Honestly," he said, "I had no idea where I was going to go and you never know how the draft will unfold. Teams have needs and wants and people were going ahead of me for a reason. I was definitely shocked, but I can't complain ... it is an opportunity to make my dream come true. I wanted to be in the NFL since I was eight years old and now I'm here."

Sherman, an unheralded player for the Huskies, was the second fullback taken. He went 136th overall to the Cardinals, who were impressed with his toughness and tenacity on special teams.

"When you have a role where you're expecting that player to maybe get 15 or 20 snaps or game, he's got to have another significant contribution to your team," Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt told the Associated Press. "That's how you build the strength of your team. We feel like (Sherman) was, if not the best, at least in the top two or three in all the college players we looked at as special teamers."

Sherman wasn't surprised Arizona came calling.

"I had a great conversation with their running back coach (Tommie Robinson) at the combine and he said that I made an impact on them," Sherman said. "All you have to do is have one team fall in love with you, one team that knows that you are the guy that they want. That is what I did with the Cardinals."

Wilson, a two-time All-Big East outside linebacker, led the Big East conference in tackles last season and finished second on UConn's career tackles list with 449. Carolina has a new head coach (Ron Rivera) and drafted Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick. Wilson's former UConn teammate, cornerback Robert McClain, played his rookie season with the Panthers in 2010.

c.banning@theday.com

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