As part of our annual NFL Draft coverage, we have written articles on each of the Detroit Lions' 2023 draft picks, focusing on their college highlights (you’ll find the complete list of players covered below). But this year’s class has a few undrafted players that deserve some added attention as well.
Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim was one of college football's most electric and productive backs. If he had declared after the 2020 season—when he was the Big Ten’s running back of the year—he likely would have been drafted and already be part of an NFL rotation. But Ibrahim opted to return to school in 2021, and unfortunately tore his Achilles against Ohio State in the 2021 opener, ending what looked like a promising senior season.
For many players, Achilles injuries can be brutal, and in some cases, could end a player's career. But advances in medical technology have not only shortened the recovery time in players but have helped them return to the field and be productive contributors.
“After I got hurt, it was a, ‘Do you want to leave after you got hurt or do you want to come back and prove yourself?’ And I felt like coming back and prove myself was the best fit,” Ibrahim said to Dave Birkett of the Free Press following Lions rookie minicamp. “It showed myself that I could do it, it showed the NFL teams that I could do it and if nobody picked me up, that was OK. But I knew deep down in my heart that I did the right choice and I’m not going to pick the what-if game, nothing like that. I’m just going to do my job and make (the most of) the best situation.”
Ibrahim was not only able to return to football in less than a year, but he was back in the starting lineup and ran for 1,665 yards in 2022, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and accumulating 20 rushing touchdowns—a Gophers record. Still, Ibrahim went undrafted—the Achilles injury likely played a factor in that outcome—and he signed in Detroit hoping for a shot at making the team.
When evaluating Ibrahim, it’s important to focus on what he looked like before and after the injury. So we have split up his highlights, focusing on his award-winning 2020 season, his dominant performance against the Buckeyes in 2021 (the game he tore his Achilles), his 2022 comeback season, as well as some draft prep and interviews. Enjoy.
- RB Jahmyr Gibbs highlights
- LB Jack Campbell highlights
- TE Sam LaPorta highlights
- DB Brian Branch highlights
- QB Hendon Hooker highlights
- DT Brodric Martin highlights
- RG Colby Sorsdal highlights
- WR Antoine Green highlights
Pre-Achilles compilations/highlights (2020)
Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim: fun player!— Kyle Crabbs (@GrindingTheTape) May 28, 2021
This is a good look at what he does well. Quickly IDs lost edge as he exits the mesh and eyes scan to free running LB — which he jukes before contact balance pops him free to second level. Good eyes, clean feet and slippery at 5100, 210. pic.twitter.com/ldnlnO37Lu
Tackling Mohamed Ibrahim is a business decision pic.twitter.com/3lz8Rnh3wY— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) October 31, 2020
2021 season opener versus Ohio State
#Lions UDFA RB Mohamed Ibrahim has the patience to wait for a hole to open, and when he hits it, he finishes with power. He lacks breakaway speed, but he'll make you pay if you miss. pic.twitter.com/YP0dmGGBor— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) May 2, 2023
Mohamed Ibrahim is so good!— Full-Time Dame (@DP_NFL) September 14, 2021
Reads his blocks
Presses the gap
ID the defender’s leverage
Cut into the open field
I prefer RBs that can win one on one consistently! It Sucks he suffered an injury because he was on pace for a big year! pic.twitter.com/NmoIx9PxGd
Post-Achilles compilations/highlights (2022)
Minnesota 2023 RB Mohamed Ibrahim has come back from an Achilles tear like few running backs in recent memory.— Eric Froton (@CFFroton) November 16, 2022
Ibrahim ranks 5th in FBS with 1,261 rushing yards, and 4th in fantasy points with an average of 27.2 FPPG in 2022.
Here are 12 of his best runs against Northwestern: pic.twitter.com/lgtRo41EIA
Minnesota RB Mohamed Ibrahim puts the Illinois defender in the spin cycle. Mo has some deceptive elusiveness. Makes defenders miss in tight spaces. pic.twitter.com/SFAXBqqCuc— Ryan Roberts (@RiseNDraft) October 19, 2022
Short yardage success does not happen randomly. There is a skill to it. Vision, leg strength and body control all play into it. Some backs stink at it. Minnesota’s Mohamed Ibrahim has 36 rushing TDs over his last 19 games. He’s has all the tools to keep doing this as a pro. pic.twitter.com/fbc7ZolvYO— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) December 11, 2022
Mohamed Ibrahim’s standout trait is his power and leg drive.— Zareh Kantzabedian (@ZKantzFF) March 21, 2023
In the trenches, Ibrahim is always good for 2-3 yards on a stuffed run.
Naturally, DBs don't stand a chance. pic.twitter.com/ydduhR7W37
An impressive catch from #Gophers legend Mohamed Ibrahim (@_MoIbrahim) at this week’s @ShrineBowl practice.— Tony Liebert (@TonyLiebert) January 31, 2023
He measured in at 5’7” 203lbs. 3 inches less and 7 pounds than his listed measurements.
GET OVER HERE— Good Morning Football (@gmfb) April 27, 2023
It's @KyleBrandt's Angry Runs Watch List!!!!
@GopherFootball RB Mohamed Ibrahim
@HawkeyeFootball TE Sam LaPorta
@TexasLonghorns RB Bijan Robinson
@GatorsFB QB Anthony Richardson
@NDSUfootball FB Hunter Luepke#NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/AwC68lHaYD
#Gophers RB Mohamed Ibrahim’s message to anyone who may be facing adversity? Never lose faith.— Daniel House (@DanielHouseNFL) August 9, 2022
When you’re staring at the top of Mount Everest, take things in sections and you’ll eventually realize you’re at the top. pic.twitter.com/FJfwo8mlCb