Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska – 2015

All-Star Games: Senior Bowl.

Positives: Though he is slightly smaller than a typical NFL running back, he is well built. He runs with above-average burst and speed, and has pretty good lateral quickness and change-of-direction quickness. He has good cutback vision behind the line and in the open field, and has the burst to dig his foot into the ground for fast acceleration through the hole. He also runs stronger than his size, with high knees through traffic at the line. Has the strength and suddenness to finishes runs strong and drive through defenders at the end of runs and in short-yardage situations. Very good second effort and churns well through contact with a strong lower body. Runs with good body lean, getting low through the line and tunneling for yards. He shows above-average balance after contact and the agility for quick moves that gain him yards after the defender wraps him up. Can also push the pile in short yardage. Agile enough to spin away from defenders at the line. Above-average hands and routes, and accelerates out of his cuts nicely to get good separation from defenders. He demonstrates above-average ball security technique through the line and protects the ball with both hands. Though his pass protection ability is limited, he gets into pretty good position and is at least able to redirect defenders around the quarterback. Despite his injury history, he seems tough and able to play through pain – played in 2014 bowl game one month after MCL sprain and also played in Senior Bowl despite injuring his hamstring during game-week practices. Adequate hand size.

Negatives: Size is a concern for him – he’s short for the position and has slightly below-average bulk. This comes into play as a pass protector – he is an inconsistent pass protector who can be easily overpowered when he gets knocked off balance. Suspect ball security when fighting for yards, and fumbled often in college. Slightly injured knee in spring 2013 practices. Sprained MCL in November 2014. Injured hamstring in senior bowl practices.

Projection: Round 3. His pass protection deficiencies and lack of size knock him back a bit, but he should be able to be a solid contributor in a committee approach. Reminds me a lot of Devonta Freeman, who went in Round 4 to the Falcons in the 2014 NFL Draft, but with more strength and suddenness as a runner.

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