Name: Ameer Abdullah
Height: 5’8 ¾
Grade: 2nd Round
Comparison: Tiki Barber, Warrick Dunn
Ameer Abdullah is an athletic, explosive running back. He has good top-end speed which allows him to outrun defenders to the corner. Once he gets to the second level, he hits a second gear and is tough to catch from behind.
When he is in the open field, Abdullah is very dangerous. He has great stop-start ability, and defenders have a hard time wrapping him up as a result. Abdullah is able to reach his top speed very quickly. He possesses great balance as he repeatedly pin-balls off of defenders without losing his footing.
A two-time captain, Ameer Abdullah clearly possesses the leadership qualities that NFL teams look for. Everything I have read about Abdullah suggests he is a great influence in the locker room, and his work ethic is second to none.
Despite his small stature, he does not back down from a challenge. He likes to finish runs by lowering his shoulder and driving for extra yards. Abdullah gives a lot of effort in pass protection, even if it routinely results in him taking a huge hit.
His biggest issue as a runner is that he fumbles way too often. He runs with the ball high and tight, but he still fumbles regardless. Perhaps altering the way he holds the football will help prevent fumbling in the future, similar to what Tom Coughlin did with Tiki Barber.
One of Abdullah’s biggest strengths is his vision and ability to see the hole before it opens up. He runs with a low pad level, making him very difficult to find behind his offensive line. Abdullah uses this to his advantage, as he will hide until he can explode through the hole.
He is a fantastic improviser, and shows a unique ability to turn a four-yard loss into a four-yard gain. Ameer Abdullah usually knows his blocking assignment as well. He is regarded as a smart football player.
As far as lower body explosiveness goes, Abdullah is near the top.
He led all running backs in both the vertical leap and broad jump at the combine. He has arguably the most violent jump cut in the draft, and he explodes in and out of his cuts.
Abdullah consistently falls forward at the end of runs and he has the ability to break arm tackles. He is not going to move many piles at the next level, nor will he run over defenders with any consistency. He is more powerful than he looks, but it’s not considered a strength of his.
Abdullah is very talented as a runner. He is extremely elusive, thanks to his change of direction skills and ability to change speeds in an instance. Abdullah utilizes his quickness to avoid big hits, and he subsequently has enough power to break through attempted arm tackles.
As a receiver, Ameer Abdullah is very reliable out of the backfield. In fact, Nebraska would often spread the field by lining Abdullah up in the slot. Once he catches the ball, he is dangerous in the open field.
He can be deadly in the screen game, as he can hide behind a caravan of blockers and explode downfield when he sees an opportunity.
As a pass blocker, there is only so much that Abdullah can do. He gets in the way, but he gets blown up by blitzers with ease. His size limits his ability as a blocker and as a power back, but Abdullah still has a skill set that NFL teams want.
Ameer Abdullah is a very talented back, and if he were 5’11, 220 pounds, he would be considered in the same class as Melvin Gordon. However, part of his appeal is his smaller stature, in my opinion.
Despite his height, he is still well-built and has been extremely durable in his career. He has also demonstrated the ability to carry the ball 25 times per game without losing steam towards the end.
When I watch Abdullah play, I see a lot of similarities to Tiki Barber and Warrick Dunn. He may not be the biggest or fastest guy on the field, but his quickness, smarts, and savvy as a runner will allow him to succeed in the NFL. Also like Barber, he has a huge fumbling issue that will need to be addressed.
In terms of his fit with the Cowboys, I think Ameer Abdullah would be a great back behind this offensive line. His skill set matches up very well with what the Cowboys like to do in the running game. He would be a dangerous back thanks to his vision and ability to cut up-field in a hurry. If Ajayi is not available at 60, Abdullah would be a great consolation prize.
Do not be afraid of Abdullah because of his size.