Breakdown: Lions Select Ameer Abdullah

Everything you need to know about the Detroit Lions’ second-round selection of running back Ameer Abdullah out of Nebraska from Scout's college and pro football experts.

Awaiting Image
Ameer Abdullah
Nebraska / 5'9 / 205 lbs
  • RB
  • [2] #22

Analysis

Abdullah had a very nice career in Lincoln, starting 33 of the 53 games he played in as a Cornhusker. He finished with 4,588 yards (5.64 yards per carry) and scored 39 touchdowns. He also caught 73 passes for 690 yard and seven more scores. Abdullah was also a very good punt returner. This is a nice change of pace back who can do a lot of different things. He’s bulky and compact at 205-pounds. Abdullah runs with a low center of gravity. He may not test off the charts in terms of speed but he’s football fast. He has excellent short area quickness, can be explosive and is tough to bring down in the open field.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation


Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:

The Lions found an ideal piece for the replacement of Reggie Bush in their backfield in running back Ameer Abdullah. Abdullah had a very nice career in Lincoln, starting 33 of the 53 games he played in as a Cornhusker. He finished with 4,588 yards (5.64 yards per carry) and scored 39 touchdowns. He also caught 73 passes for 690 yard and seven more scores. Abdullah was also a very good punt returner. This is a nice change of pace back who can do a lot of different things. He’s bulky and compact at 205-pounds. Abdullah runs with a low center of gravity. He may not test off the charts in terms of speed but he’s football fast. He has excellent short area quickness, can be explosive and is tough to bring down in the open field.

Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:

Ameer Abdullah’s running style is similar to Tennessee’s Bishop Sankey, the first running back taken in the 2014 draft, but as November kicked in, the smallish ball carrier’s heavy work load seemed to have caught up with him. He struggled early in 2013 with a knee sprain and in the November 2014 clash vs. Purdue, he left after the second series with a left knee sprain, totaling one yard on six runs. After posting 229 yards vs. Miami, 208 vs. Illinois and 225 vs. Rutgers before the Purdue clash, he was held to 69 vs. Wisconsin and 98 vs. Minnesota in his two appearances after the Boilermakers contest.

Overuse might be the cause for him breaking down at the end of the year, as he touched the ball 237 times for 1,523 yards and 18 touchdowns, catching 16 passes and averaging 24.7 yards on 11 kickoff returns in 2014. His 7,186 all-purpose yards rank second in Big Ten annals and leads all active FBS players. A potential target for Detroit and Baltimore in the second round, his cat-like quickness has scouts likening him to former Detroit Lions Jahvid Best.

Abdullah has the field vision and open field cutting ability to simply fly past second level defenders. With his lateral agility, he can easily escape linebackers, locate the cutback lane and take the ball up the crease. That lateral quickness is what gains him advantage on most of his perimeter runs. Surprisingly, for all of his quickness and a lack of size, you’d think he’d be a better outside runner than one going between tackles, but that is not the case.

The Huskers ball carrier has outstanding cutback ability, but there are often times he just runs right into the defense in the open field. He has good foot speed and balance moving laterally, but can be tripped up when running north-south. He knows how to keep the ball in his outside hand when turning the corner, but he is not the type that can break arm tackles.

Most of his stops behind the line of scrimmage came when he failed to get space racing towards the perimeter. Abdullah is patient letting his blocks develop and has the second gear to pull away, but it is his cutting vs. the grain and his balance that gets a defense oft-kilter most of the time. He is too light to be a pounder at the next level and those injuries give you a feel that his “shelf life” is not going to be for too long.

Abdullah has natural hands and good extension ability. He can snatch away from his frame and also does a good job fielding kickoffs. He shows ease of movement looking the ball in over his shoulder, but has never had to run any complicated patterns. He was utilized mostly on controlled routes and when asked to go deep, he soft angle-cut too much, drifting in his patterns. He has to show the same cutting ability he does as a ball carrier when transitioning in and out of his breaks to be more effective here.

Abdullah will never be asked to lead block, not at his size and obvious lack of power. He is alert to stunts and blitzes and will face up, but there is little punch when using his hands and with no leg drive and strong anchor, he’s a strong candidate to be walked back into the pocket. The effort is there, the production is not.

NFL Scouting Combine measurables
5-9/205 (4.6 forty)
30-inch arm length
8 5/8 inch hands
24 reps
42.5-inch vertical jump
130-inch broad jump
6.79 3 cone drill
3.95 20 yard shuttle
11.18 60 yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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