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Nebraska Cornhuskers Football 2015 NFL Draft Profile: Ameer Abdullah

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ameer Abdullah was an integral part of Nebraska's offense over the past few seasons, particularly over the past two when he started every game at running back. His freshman season (2011), he played in every game as a kick returner, then as a sophomore, started seven games as a backup to Rex Burkhead.

He was the first Nebraska player to rush for 1,000 yards in three separate seasons.He tied a single season school record by having four 200-yard games in 2014 and he finished his career at Nebraska second only to Mike Rozier in career rushing yardage (4,588 to 4,780 yards).

Abdullah finished second in Big Ten history in career all-purpose yardage with 7,186 yards. Only 11 FBS players have ever passed 7,000 career all-purpose yards.

Measurables

Note the SPARQ. Abdullah posted the highest SPARQ of any running back in the 2015 NFL Draft. (SPARQ is an acronym - Speed, Power, Agility, Reaction, Quickness - It is basically a method of trying to determine a player's overall level of athleticism.)

Weight Weight Arms Hands 40yd 10yd Bench Vert Broad 3Cone 20ss SPARQ (%)
5' 9" 205 30" 8⅝" 4.60 1.61 24 42½" 130" 6.79 3.95 142.5 (95.6)

Husker fans might notice his weight, which is up 10 pounds over what he played at Nebraska.

Career Yardage

Year Games/Starts Attempts Net Yard Average Yards/Game Long TDs
2011 13/0 42 150 3.6 11.5 24 at Wyoming 3
2012 14/7 226 1,137 5 81.2 45 vs. Arkansas St. 8
2013 13/13 281 1,690 6 130 62 vs. Wyoming 9
2014 13/13 264 1,611 6.1 123.9 57 at Fresno St. 19
Totals 53/33 813 4,744 5.6 86.6 62 vs. Wyoming 39

Receiving: Career: 73 catches, 690 yards, 7 TDs, long of 58 vs. McNeese State (2014)

Kickoff Returns: 61 ret. 1,592 yds, 1 TD, 26.1 avg, long of 100 vs. Fresno St. (2011)

Punt Returns: 31 returns, 316 yards, 1 TD, 10.2 average, long of 81 vs. Idaho St. (2012)

NFL Combine Results

2015 Ameer Abdullah NFL Combine
Above from NFL.COM.

I don't know much about NFL combine results, but I know people like to look at them. The 40-yard dash time seems somewhat slow, but his shuttle times are excellent, and he ran a much faster time (4.4-4.5) in the 40 at Nebraska's Pro Day.

Strengths

Character

Abdullah's character is well known to Husker fans as he has been an excellent role model. He also completed his degree in history in 3 1/2 years, and was named to the academic All-Big Ten team the past two years. He has a reputation as a hard worker in the weight room; he was named Nebraska's "Lifter of the Year" in 2012 and 2013.

Vision, Agility, Speed

Abdullah made a significant jump in maturity between his junior and senior seasons at Nebraska. In his senior year, college football fans saw a player that had become a master at waiting for running lanes and his blockers. His agility was at an all-time high, and he had the breakaway speed to finish plays.

He also had determination. In the play below (vs Northwestern, 2013), Abdullah receives a pass, then fights his way to picking up a first down on a 4th and 15. Nebraska would win the game on a Hail Mary, but not without Adbullah picking up that first down.

Pass Receiving

Abdullah's 73 career receptions are more than either Todd Gurley (65) or Melvin Gordon (22). SBNation's NFL Draft guru Dan Kadar says Abdullah is a better pass receiver than either Melvin Gordon or Todd Gurley.

His 58-yard TD reception against McNeese State provides an example of his abilities as he scored the winning touchdown with only seconds left in the game.

Weaknesses

Size

Abdullah doesn't have the size to be an every down back in the NFL, although I'm not sure if that is a real weakness. I guess if you want one guy to feed the ball to so that you grind him into dust over the course of a short career. You might make the case that it makes it easier for the defense to guess what's coming if you're swapping an athletic back like Abdullah for a bruiser, but it's not like the NFL doesn't have predictable offenses anyway.

Blitz Pick Up

Abdullah has been criticized because of an inability to recognize blitz pressure, and mentions have been made that his smaller stature may make him ineffective as a blocker.

Fumbling

According to this, Adbullah has the highest rate of fumbles per carry than any other back in the 2015 NFL Draft. While I love Abdullah, there's been some untimely fumbles through his career, i.e., against Georgia in the bowl game, killing a potential comeback against Iowa in 2013... 20 fumbles over his first three seasons, 15 of them lost.

Abdullah did better in 2014 with four fumbles, two lost.

Where He's Gonna Go

Of the 841,342 mock drafts that have been conducted over the past few hours, 89% have Abdullah going in the second round. This one has him going to the New England Patriots as pick #64. Here's another from Dallas, which has him going in the first round to the Cowboys.

Wherever he goes chances are that he's going to be selected by a team you hate because that's just how life is sometimes.