Competition is Strong at Running Back
By Michael Stewart (@golferbad)
GM Jerry Reese wasted no time and signed three tryout players off their rookie minicamp this week. I wasn’t familiar with any of them and as I often do in this case; I began to do my research to learn more. After countless articles and video of these players, only one really stood out and that was RB Khalid Abdullah; which prompted me to research further into his college career.
The articles I reviewed provided much-needed information regarding Abdullah, however; his video highlights really captured what he can provide on the field. Despite playing at a small school (James Madison), Abdullah talents displayed on video could eventually give the Giants an added weapon.
RB: Khalid Abdullah 5’10/220 (James Madison):
Abdullah had 1,809 yards and 22 touchdowns on 298 carries for James Madison in 2016. Very patient runner, who allows lead blockers to create running lanes and quickly attacks the hole. Sees the entire field and doesn’t hesitate with his decision-making. Exceptional balance and quickness in his 1st step and was above average in yardage after 1st contact.
Abdullah was equally successful running between the tackles or on the edge, despite not having explosive straight line speed. Has ability to change gears within the run without slowing down; which compensates for his lack of elite speed you would like from a RB. Abdullah has a very physical running style and is not afraid to lower his shoulder when the situation calls for it.
As I mentioned above, Abdullah lacks that breakaway speed NFL teams like in a RB as he would have difficulty out running many NFL CB & S in the open field. Regarded more as a rushing back and not a receiver, however; that was more of the system he was utilized in college than his ability to catch the ball… Abdullah would need to work on his pass protection before he’s ready to handle NFL blitzes as he wasn’t asked to do that in college.
The signing of Abdullah could loom larger as training camp moves forward, despite a crowded backfield for the Giants. Abdullah’s achievements can’t be overlooked; nor can his athletic ability; which was showcased in rookie mini-camp.
GM Jerry Reese and HC Ben McAdoo saw enough of Abdullah in such a short time to quickly sign him. Abdullah reminds of other college RB’s drafted on Day 3 such as: Brian Hill (5th) out of Wyoming, Jeremy McNichols (5th) out of Boise State and Elijah Hood (6th) out of North Carolina. The Giants may have found themselves a diamond in the rough with Abdullah and will give him every opportunity to compete for a roster spot.