Ameer Abdullah got a lot of playing time during his career at Nebraska, becoming the feature back after Rex Burkhead was injured during his sophomore season. He was consistently excellent as both a runner and pass catcher throughout his career, gaining over 2,000 all-purpose yards his senior season. He enters the 2015 NFL Draft as one of the top RBs on the board.
Abdullah mainly contributed by returning kicks and punts his freshman season. He was quite successful, with over 750 yards and a TD on kickoff returns. During his second season, he got a chance to play at tailback with incumbent starter Rex Burkhead injured. He performed admirably, scoring 5 TDs in his first four games while also rushing for 1,137 yards on 226 carries for the season. He added value in the passing game as well, and even split out wide a number of times, catching 24 passes on the season.
Abdullah was the unquestioned starter going into his junior season, and he proved his worth. He rushed for over 100 yards in 11 of his 13 games, totaling 1,690 on the season. He tacked on 232 receiving yards on 26 catches, and scored 11 TDs on the season. He decided to return for his senior season, and came back strong. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry on the year, with 264 attempts allowing him to go for 1,611 yards on the ground. He also added 22 catches for another 269 yards. Most impressive, however, were the 22 total TDs he racked up. He may have been overshadowed a bit by the play of Melvin Gordon, who was in the same conference, but Abdullah was an incredibly reliable runner for the Huskers in 2014. Abdullah also blew up the combine, because while he does not produce top end speed, his quickness is unmatched. He led all RBs in 4 separate categories: the vertical jump, broad jump, 3 Cone Drill, and 20 Yard Shuttle. With that performance, he, in my opinion, solidified himself as the third best RB in the draft.
In order to watch Abdullah, I went to Draft Breakdown, which has eleven of his college games.
|DOB||June 13, 1993||Bench (225 lb)||24 reps|
|Weight||205 lbs||Broad Jump||130.0″|
|Arms||30″||20 Yard Shuttle||3.95 sec|
|Hands||8-5/8″||3 Cone Drill||6.79 sec|
|40 Yard Dash||4.60 sec||60 Yard Shuttle||11.18 sec|
|University of Nebraska (2011-2014)|
|2014||264 att, 1611 yards, 6.1 ypc, 19 TDs||22 rec, 269 yards, 12.2 ypc, 3 TDs|
|2013||281 att, 1690 yards, 6.0 ypc, 9 TDs||26 rec, 232 yards, 8.1 ypc, 2 TDs|
|2012||226 att, 1137 yards, 5.0 ypc, 8 TDs||24 rec, 178 yards, 7.4 ypc, 2 TDs|
- Has maxed out his frame, he’s not going to get any beefier. On the small side for RBs. This will limit him.
- Tough, physical runner. Tenacity helps make up for lack of size, but still sometimes struggles between the tackles.
- Decent, not great speed. Isn’t going to blow by defensive backs.
- Works hard on runs, gets every inch possible out of them.
- North-South runner. Makes one cut and decisively turns upfield.
- Excellent vision for holes opening up at the LoS and second level.
- Strong stiff arm.
- Accelertates very quickly and bursts through holes.
- Does a good job of getting to the edge of the defense and cutting upfield.
- Great asset in the passing game. Strong after the catch.
- Also spent time split out wide running WR routes. Catches with hands.
- Very elusive in the open field. Amazing jump cut, on the same level as LeSean McCoy’s.
- Needs work blocking. Because he is small he gets overpowered. Also iffy on cut blocks. Has some success, but it isn’t one of his strengths.
- Ball security is a big concern. 13 fumbles during his college career.
While Abdullah lacks ideal size, he certainly is tough. He bounces off of would-be tacklers, lowers his shoulder into defenders at the end of runs, and drives his legs to push piles. Effort is still a huge part of success in the NFL, and Abdullah displays tremendous effort on his tape.
Abdullah has the best vision of the RBs in this class that I’ve seen so far, and it’s not really close. He has a knack for finding cutback lanes and is also great at finding small creases to fit though and pick up solid gains when there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of room. This ability is going to get him far at the NFL level. It will allow him to make something out of nothing and gain small chunks of yards where other backs would be stopped at the LoS.