RB Ameer Abdullah (Nebraska) - Round 2, Pick No. 54
After bolstering their O-line in the first round, the Detroit Lions kept their focus on the offensive side of the ball in the second round by taking running back Ameer Abdullah. Going into the draft, most people expected the Lions to take a running back at some point, and they ultimately decided the second round was the time to address that position.
Height: 5-foot-9 | Weight: 205 pounds
2011: 42 carries, 150 yards, 3 TD | 1 catch, 11 yards
2012: 226 carries, 1,137 yards, 8 TD | 24 catches, 178 yards, 2 TD
2013: 281 carries, 1,690 yards, 9 TD | 26 catches, 232 yards, 2 TD
2014: 264 carries, 1,611 yards, 19 TD | 22 catches, 269 yards, 3 TD
Abdullah has a pretty remarkable family:
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said Ameer Abdullah was the youngest of nine children, all of whom were college graduates.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) May 2, 2015
What the experts are saying
Abdullah isn't the running back I was hoping for, but he's a great fit for Joe Lombardi's scheme and fits the Darren Sproles role to a T. The fumble concerns are overblown, and his ball security improved every year at Nebraska. He may not start right away for the Lions, but he'll be the most talented RB on the roster the day he steps foot into training camp.
Abdullah finished second in Big Ten history in career all-purpose yardage with 7,186 yards. Only 11 FBS players have ever passed 7,000 career all-purpose yards.
Despite having first-round talent, Abdullah's lack of preferred NFL size and issues with ball security might cause some teams to shy away from him in the opening round. Abdullah has explosive potential as a runner and ball-catcher and is a natural zone-scheme fit. His high character will make him a hit during interview process.
While his size will immediately turn some off, Abdullah is extremely talented and polished with the ball in his hands and few run harder or more energetic, reminding of a better version of Andre Ellington and has the skill set to have a Warrick Dunn-type career at the next level.
What he brings: Abdullah isn't a power back but plays much bigger than his size. He runs angry. He is also the best back in this class at getting in and out of creases. Some backs have elite agility but can't sense holes opening up in time, while others have the instincts but not the quickness to take advantage of it. Abdullah has a rare combination of both. He's a good pass-catcher, but needs to improve his ball security.
Abdullah was one of my favorite players to watch in the draft. He plays much bigger than his size would suggest, and can make cuts that few, if any, other players in this draft can make. Abdullah had the second-highest rush grade and highest receiving grade in the RB draft class. He will need to improve in pass protection to be an every down player, but that’s really the only weakness in his game.
Outlook for 2015
Abdullah should be a Day 1 contributor, stepping into a committee at running back that already includes Joique Bell and Theo Riddick. The Lions seem to view Abdullah as a potential home-run threat, so he will likely take over the role previously envisioned for Reggie Bush. Just how much playing time Abdullah gets week to week may depend on matchups as much as anything, but he should see the field an awful lot as a rookie.
Previous scouting reports
Draft picks: OG Laken Tomlinson