Weight: 195 lbs
40 yard dash: 4.48 (projected)
NFL Comparison: Justin Forsett
Ameer Abdullah plays larger than he looks. At less than 200 pounds, the only Cornhusker to ever have three 1,000-yard-plus rushing seasons has managed to become college’s most well-rounded back by keeping his nose down, literally. Abdullah isn’t exceptionally fast or strong, but he runs lower than his defenders and he’s elusive in tight spaces. This combo doesn’t amount to huge gains most of the time, but they do amount to huge games where Abdullah whittles away at the defense’s interior in short bursts. In addition to being a pro-style, inside-the-tackles runner, he can catch passes with the best of backs. Abdullah has few shortcomings on or off the field, he’s a class act, but if there are concerns about his game, they’re in his blocking abilities. No one is sure if Abdullah can block or if he understands pass protections.
Despite his mammoth seasons in college and solid work ethic, Abdullah’s size issues may keep him off of the draft board for longer than he should be. He’ll be drafted no doubt, probably on Day 3 (although we could see him going Day 2 with a big Senior Bowl and draft season) but it is unlikely that he’ll come into the NFL as someone’s frontrunner for lead-back duties. Similarly to another hard-charging but smallish back, Justin Forsett, Abdullah could be relegated to obscurity for some time behind more prototypical backs. If he can gain some muscle in the interim though, and if some patient team helps him develop his blocking, Abdullah could easily be an every-down back, if not a player that can be the focal point of an offense. His fantasy relevance, barring a fall to the exact perfect fit for 2015, at this time should be limited to dynasty where he should be a late-round add in rookie drafts, especially with deeper taxi squads for stashing.