Reggie Bush will be working out of San Francisco's backfield this season, so to replace him as a home-run hitting Joique Bell complement, the Detroit Lions selected Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah at No. 54. Abdullah is a shifty, dangerous threat in the open field—he can find a hole and get to the second or third level as if he's shot out of a cannon. Abdullah actually should take on more responsibilities than a banged-up Bush was able to last season. Even though Abdullah may be pegged as a passing-down threat initially, he has the skill to be trusted with a steady workload on the ground.
Detroit again skipped over several defensive tackles who would have helped an Ndamukong Suh-less lineup here. If Abdullah is anywhere near as dynamic in the NFL as he was at Nebraska, it'll be worth it.
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Strengths: Outstanding speed, acceleration and body lean—transitions smoothly to the second and third levels. Runs low and forward to pick up extra yards between the tackles. Patient when waiting for blocks to open gaps, and moves to the edge quickly and efficiently. Team leader who works very hard and has an obvious desire to improve. Runs very decisively to and through the gap, and has the vision to take advantage of quick-opening opportunities. Not blessed with great escapability, but has good lateral agility and fights to create openings as he runs downfield.
Weaknesses: As expected from a player his size (5'9", 205 pounds), Abdullah struggles in power situations. Not a sustaining back when dealing with bigger defenders, and has issues keeping his body straight when blocking. Won't be able to put on much more weight. Needs to develop a wider array of routes, and more accuracy when running them. Fumbled 13 times at Nebraska. Best suited to a zone scheme at the next level—could struggle with power/counter/trap schemes that require more power and patience.
Player comparison: Andre Ellington