3. Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska
Two small running backs in row. Sue me; they deserve some love, too. Just like Duke Johnson, Ameer Abdullah is hoping he could catch on with a team that will be willing to look past his size.
He may not be the definition of intimidating at 5-foot-8, 198 pounds, but the senior running back ran wild for the Cornhuskers, gaining 1,880 yards from scrimmage in 13 games. For all the criticism for his size, he was still able to average 6.1 yards per carry in a Big 10 conference, whose tackles and linebackers live up that name consistently.
He is able to be successful despite his small stature because defenders have a difficult time identifying him in a sea of bodies, then exploding through holes using his quick feet to jump cut and accelerate to the open field. He also has great vision and can see the play developing in front him, hitting the proper gap for maximum production.
However, his size can still cause problems for his team. If he is caught out of position on blitz protection, he is easily run over by bigger defenders going after the quarterback. Abdullah has also struggled with ball security and will need to improve on his ball handling if he wants to be successful in the NFL.
Projected Pick: mid-second round
Next: Will Gurley be able to withstand the abuse?