The Detroit Lions' starting running back, Joique Bell, was sidelined from OTAs this year as he recovers from offseason surgery. The Lions want to make sure he's healthy for training camp, so they are being extra cautious with him.
While it would have been nice for Bell to be on the field during OTAs, the flip side is that Theo Riddick and rookie Ameer Abdullah got a lot of work in his place at running back. Abdullah in particular received a lot of important reps during OTAs as he transitions from college to the NFL, and he's already given Matthew Stafford a pretty good idea of what his skill set is all about. From the Lions' official site:
"I think as a runner he has great balance," Stafford said after a recent OTA practice. "He’s obviously a low-to-the-ground guy. He seems to hide pretty well behind there and he’s got good vision.
"Out of the backfield, catching the ball, he’s great. He’s got great hands. He has a good feel for route running.
Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi also highlighted Abdullah's skills in the passing game as an area where he has exceeded expectations so far.
Lions OC Joe Lombardi said Ameer Abdullah's receiving skills are better than he expected.— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) June 10, 2015
Riddick has been viewed as the best pass catcher of the Lions' running backs, but perhaps Abdullah will actually take on that role as well. The Lions are expected to give all three of their top running backs a healthy amount of playing time, but Abdullah could certainly increase his role much earlier than expected by contributing in the passing game.