How might Abdullah transition to the NFL?

Greg Arias, Scout.com publisher for Titan Red Zone, talked with Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah yesterday at the NFL combine. Arias talks about how NFL might receive the Husker running back that has a career 4,588 rushing yards.

1) What about Ameer Abdullah makes him attractive to NFL scouts?

His production is the first thing you notice with Ameer. He has great stats in a premier program in a Power 5 conference. You have to be a good back to do what he did at Nebraska. After that it becomes about the intangible things like his size, speed, vision, durability and so forth. He has answered most every question in a positive way to this point.


2) How will teams interpret the 813 carries he got in college?

I think that will be viewed as a positive. That is not a huge number for someone his age over a college career, and he was able to show he can handle a heavy workload. That's something that he likely won't have to do in the NFL with the proliferation of most teams preferring a two back/platoon system.


3) What specific aspects of Abdullah's running style do NFL teams covet?

That is somewhat team specific. Different teams look for different things in their backs, but Ameer has above average speed, shows great vision and has surprising power for a back his size. He also can be a weapon on third downs as a receiver, and while he will not likely be a "power back" for most teams on a regular basis, but he has enough to be a change-up on third downs too.


4) What are the biggest question marks and concerns with Abdullah?

His biggest negative is his pass protection, which showed up big time in Mobile against some good rushers. He can work on some techniques to improve but it will likely always be an issue for him unless he can grow a couple inches and add 20 pounds without hurting his speed. That's not likely to happen.


5) How do you see his overall game translating to the NFL?

I think his game translates nicely to the NFL, for the right system. So much of a running back today in the league is about fit and with the right team he can be a productive back with a lot of versatility. That's my personal opinion, but it is shared by several scouts I know who liked his game at the Senior Bowl, so I can say that with confidence.


6) Who is a running back that's been successful in the NFL would you compare to Abdullah?

That's a tough one because I don't like to compare kids coming into the league to established players, but if I have to pick one I think he has some Jamal Charles in him. Charles is two inches taller and five pounds heavier, but the size is close enough and I think they both are good between the tackles, have surprising power and catch well out of the backfield Charles might be a little more dynamic in space, but that remains to be seen once he Abdullah gets his chance in the NFL.


7) What teams do you think he fits best with stylistically?

New England would be a great fit to me. They use multiple backs and like guys who can catch the football and play in space. Abdullah can do that and he would have some great pieces around him so that he wouldn't be expected to carry the load early.


8) What does Abdullah need to do at the NFL combine to raise his stock?

I'm not sure he can raise his stock much at this point. He can run a faster 40 that might help, but his size and limitations in pass pro will still be there and there is no drills at the combine where he can show enough improvement to change that perception.

***Posted by Josh Harvey ***


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