Ameer Abdullah NFL Stats
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Ameer Abdullah NFL Game Log
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(Compared to other RBs)
Detroit Lions Team Injury Report
Abdullah came out of the gate flying in 2016, racking up 120 combined yards in a Week 1 win over the Colts, but what was initially thought to be a foot sprain suffered the following week instead turned out to be a season-ending injury. The Lions still have passing-down maven Theo Riddick, but Abdullah could be in line for a heavy workload on the ground behind an improved O-line. The 5-9, 203-pound back doesn't have the typical frame for a lead role, but his vision, burst and patience make him a good fit for the team's power running scheme, and while he hasn't had much chance to show it in the pros he did flash some aptitude as a receiver in college. He has also had some ball security issues, fumbling five times as a rookie, but if he can stay healthy and hold onto the rock he could be in line for a big 2017.
Perhaps the sneakiest thing the Lions did over the past calendar year was keep Abdullah's January labrum surgery a complete secret. The Lion — err, cat— was released from the bag in late May when the news was disclosed. It's poor timing for Abdullah to be on a rehab program, given the crowded nature of the Detroit backfield. Theo Riddick, Stevan Ridley, Zach Zenner and rookie Dwayne Washington are also around, jostling for position. Abdullah entered the NFL with a sterling pass-catching reputation, but Riddick wound up being Detroit's go-to back on third downs and in hurry-up spots. Abdullah also had a rep for being a home-run hitter, so it was disappointing to see him manage a modest three runs over 20 yards. That said, a 4.2 YPC isn't bad for a first go, and the Lions occasionally treated him like a featured back, giving him 10 games with double-digit touches. Abdullah also deserves props for playing through the shoulder injury, which was a factor in the final two games of the year.
A second-round pick out of Nebraska, Abdullah has the skills to immediately step into Reggie Bush's vacated role in the Lions' backfield. A little undersized for a feature back at 5-9, 205, Abdullah has the best hands of any running back in this year's draft and didn't drop a single pass in his final two seasons of college ball. He's not purely a change-of-pace back, however, showing good patience as he waits for holes to develop and the burst to drive through them once they do. Problems with ball security and pass protection could restrict Abdullah's snaps as a rookie, and even with a good training camp he isn't likely to unseat Joique Bell as the starter. But given how often Matthew Stafford looks to his running backs in the passing game, Abdullah is in the right system to make an impact in a limited role.