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Can it Flava Flav.
The top-20 hype about Detroit running back Ameer Abdullah is not only warranted, it’s 99.9 percent believable.
Splitting time with the first and second string offense in his pro debut against the New York Jets, the rookie from Nebraska cut, accelerated and juked his way to a splashy 67 yards on seven carries, an indelible first impression. Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin admitted recently Abdullah has been practically untouchable throughout training camp, an applicable description based on what he showed Thursday night.
To begin the evening, Abdullah gained seven yards on a simple toss sweep. He then exhibited a sick jump cut on a nifty 6-yard up-the-gut run. Next was his best tally of the night, an off-tackle bolt in which he planted, squeezed through a tight gap and accelerated for 45 yards, making Jets linebacker Demario Davis look foolish in the process (WATCH IT HERE).
Salivary glands … activated.
By any means, Abdullah wouldn’t outrun a ticked off Grizzly (4.60 40-yard). After all, snaillike Darrelle Revis caught him from behind on his long scamper. However, he’s still a “big-play player” as Barry Sanders called him. His elusiveness, suddenness and agility – he dominated cone drills in February’s Combine – are trademarks that conjure comparisons to the Hall of Famer. Also solid in pass protection and a superb receiver, he has a three-down makeup despite a diminutive frame (5-foot-9, 200-pounds) (FULL SCOUTING REPORT HERE).
Admittedly, I’ve had both cheeks firmly planted on the Abdullah bandwagon for months. The former 'Husker, who set all-purpose records in Lincoln, is in line for a hefty Week 1 workload. That's the case even if Joique Bell, who is still rounding into form after offseason Achilles and knee procedures, returns in short order. Recall Bell, a versatile yet sluggish runner, averaged a very mundane 3.88 yards per carry over the past two seasons. Roughly 13-15 touches per game should be expected for the youngster, though Bell could poach fantasy critical goal-line touches.
Rising up the ranks at lightning speed, Abdullah's 54.5 ADP (RB25), exorbitant to some, should rocket into the 40s soon. That price tag may seem outlandish, but considering how offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi utilizes his backs in multiple ways – Detroit RBs totaled 113 catches and 930 receiving yards in ’14 – the kid should inflict serious damage in moderate doses. Approximately 1200-1300 combined yards with 5-7 TDs are possible, especially with Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate assisting the ground game. Honestly, it’s no stretch to think he’ll be the most productive rookie RB this year. Yes, over Melvin Gordon, who will surrender several touches to Danny Woodhead due to protection/pass-catching concerns.
Ask yourself: Would you rather have Gordon at his 29.3 ADP or Abdullah 15-20 picks later?
You know my answer.
Hear the Lion roar.
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