The Lions came into the draft with designs on improving their running game and followed through on them by drafting guard Laken Tomlinson in the first round, running back Ameer Abdullah in the second and fullback Michael Burton in the fifth round.
Tomlinson has a clear path to a starting job from the first week of the season and Burton should have every chance at the same. Abdullah, meanwhile, joins Joique Bell and Theo Riddick in the mix for snaps in a backfield that could split the work into situational roles.
Abdullah is making a bid for more than that, though.
“I’m going to do whatever they ask me to do, but I think I’m an every-down back,” Abdullah said, via the Omaha World-Herald. “A lot of guys want to put me in the category of third-down back. For those who say that, I ask them to turn on my film. I’ve never been that kind of player. I’ve never been a person who is just serviceable, who catches the ball out of the backfield, which I can do and I feel I can do really well. But I can do a lot of things on first or second down as well, in my opinion.”
Abdullah isn’t the biggest back, but he showed he could move the ball inside and outside while at Nebraska. Riddick has been used almost exclusively in the passing game and Bell is coming off a pair of clean-up surgeries after failing to crack four yards a carry in either of the last two seasons, which leaves a sizable opening for Abdullah to run through early in his Lions career.