Finding a Hidden Gem for the Colts at Running Back


Make no mistake about it, the Indianapolis Colts need help at running back. Trent Richardson became a laughing stock for fans, Ahmad Bradshaw and Vick Ballard cannot stay healthy, and Boom Herron is a change-of-pace back at best.

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Ameer Abdullah runs with the ball in a drill during the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts should not target big names this offseason like Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, or DeMarco Murray; instead they can look to build through the draft. Look, running backs are almost a dime-a-dozen in a pass-happy league, and many teams are looking at running backs that would have went in the first round years ago that are falling to middle rounds now.

Eddie Lacy, Jeremy Hill, and Alfred Morris are all guys who 15 years ago would have been drafted higher. But we are in a time of an advanced game where the offense is purely based around the quarterback and the passing game.

The Colts are in need of a young back, who can move the chains on third down and can work in open space. In 2014, the Colts converted 41 percent of their third downs, 13th in the league. An improved running game would help move them into a truly elite offense.

Bringing in a young guy in the backfield will help that situation, and there are a handful of running back prospects in this year’s draft class that the Colts will look at. The one they should consider taking in a middle round however is Ameer Abdullah from Nebraska.

Abdullah may be lacking ideal size at just 5’9″ and 205 pounds, but the Colts do not need an every down back. The biggest concern however that might keep away the Colts is his 13 fumbles during his four years at Nebraska. Although if you look deeper into those stats, he lost the ball just once every 68 touches, and the ball security issues can be dealt with.

What the Colts really need is a guy who can hit the holes quickly with great burst. He has just that, as he collected the fastest three cone drill among running backs at the combine with a time of 6.79.  Although he might be lacking elite top end speed (40 time of 4.60), he shows that time and time again he can hit the running lane quickly and move the ball. Click


to see all of his combine results.

Here, you see him change his lane, but still quickly hits the hole. There is no dancing from Abdullah. He is a down field runner, but can still make guys miss.

One area I saw improvement on film was his willingness to pick up the blitz during a passing play. Rolling out and cutting a defensive player is not the easiest thing to do for a young running back, especially since they are used to being the focal point of the offense.

One of the biggest adjustments running backs must make in their transition to the NFL is learning to become a pass blocker. Abdullah might be the best one in this draft class. Making him a better fit for the Colts offense, as the passing game is how this offense will continue to move the ball the most effective way.

Ameer also has the ability to make people miss in open space in the passing game, something

Boom Herron

was successful at last season. It’s essentially something every running back needs to be great at in

Pep Hamilton

‘s system.

His abilities do not stop there however, as he has shown the ability to return kicks:

The top end speed might not be there to outrun most in the league, but as he has solid hands, it is a comforting thought to have him back there.

He might not have the flashy resume like Melvin Gordon, or be a freak athlete like Todd Gurley, or even the home-state hero everyone wants in Tevin Coleman, but he is the real deal. And if he is available with the 93rd pick, I think Grigson and the entire team need to really consider Ameer.

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