NFL Draft 2015: Why Packers must draft Ameer Abdullah

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Jan 24, 2015; Mobile, AL, USA; North squad running back Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska (28) breaks free as he carries against the South squad during the first quarter of the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports photograph

Running back isn’t the biggest need for the Green Bay Packers, that much is clear. Despite that, drafting Ameer Abdullah could take the Packers’ offense to a whole new level.

I wrote back in February that the Packers should draft a running back early, with a lot of the emphasis on Abdullah. I still strongly believe in this idea, and here’s why.

Yes, the Packers need to improve their defense, particularly in stopping the run, but doing so doesn’t mean all of their offensive picks should be pushed to day three.

Green Bay is scheduled to hit the clock nine times, and this number could grow if GM Ted Thompson decides to trade down at all, which is something he likes to do. Thompson has traded down 19 times in the past, while only trading up seven times.

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With those picks, Thompson has plenty of opportunities to strengthen the defense. Besides, the unit hardly needs a complete overhaul.

This isn’t the Atlanta Falcons — the Packers ranked 15th in total defense last year and tenth against the pass. The 23rd-ranked run defense is the issue, but this can be addressed with other draft picks.

Thompson will likely take an inside linebacker, defensive lineman and cornerback at some point through the draft, but don’t sleep on the idea of taking Abdullah in the third round.

What would Abdullah bring to Green Bay?

This is where it gets exciting.

Some people consider him undersized at 5’9, 205 pounds, but what he does bring is a versatile skill set to go along with a ton of potential.

Abdullah is quick, and he can carve open defenses. He uses his quick feet to make a move on defenders, and his football IQ is excellent, allowing him to read situations effectively.

In the past three seasons with Nebraska, Abdullah rushed 771 times for 4,438 yards and 36 touchdowns.

Oct 4, 2014; East Lansing, MI, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers running back Ameer Abdullah (8) brings the Nebraska Cornhuskers on to the field prior to a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not just what he can do on the ground, though. Abdullah can also enhance the Packers’ passing game and can be used on kickoff returns.

In the same three seasons, he caught 70 passes for 679 passes and seven touchdowns. His 35 kick returns produced 829 yards, averaging 24 yards per return.

There is enough evidence to suggest that in the Packers’ offense, Abdullah would have plenty of opportunities to be utilized in the passing game.

With defenses focusing on the threat of Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams, Abdullah could find himself with a chance to shine.

Cobb spent plenty of time in the backfield at the end of the last season, now imagine putting Abdullah back there with him. Defenses won’t know if either will run the ball, one will break out as a receiver or if both will.

This video perfectly highlights Abdullah’s versatility and skills he could bring to Green Bay:

Next: How would Abdullah fit into the Packers; plans?