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Lions' Ameer Abdullah: I can be an every-down RB

Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell insisted this offseason the Lions planned to run the ball better in 2015.

The team's draft displayed that Caldwell wasn't bluffing. The Lions' used a first-round pick on guard Laken Tomlinson -- after trading for veteran O-linemanManny Ramirez -- their second-round pick on Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah and in the fifth-round fullback Michael Burton.

After jettisoning Reggie Bush, Abdullah will immediately to be slated to take over those carries. At 5-foot-9, 205 pounds Abdullah has smooth quickness, great vision, explosiveness in the hole and a natural stop-and-start ability. His athleticism is off the charts, as he finished first at his position in the vertical jump, broad jump, 3-cone drill, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle at the scouting combine.

The question for Abdullah is whether at his size he can be an every-down running back in the NFL. The rookie has no doubts.

"I'm going to do whatever they ask me to do, but I think I'm an every-down back," Abdullah told the Omaha World-Herald's online sports talk show "The Bottom Line" this week. "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."

Most viewed Abdullah as too small to be a three-down player, and he'll have to address the fumbling issues in order to increase his role.

While he might not be an every-down player out of the gate, don't be surprised it he carries a bigger load down the stretch of the season. Joique Bell has averaged just 3.9 yards per carry each of the last two seasons and is coming off a 223-carry season. Those totals can weigh on a player.

It's good for coaches to hear that Abdullah believes he can be a three-down player, but we expect a three-back rotation with the Bell/Abdullah thunder-and-lighting combo and Theo Riddick as the Darren Sproles-type chess piece in the backfield.

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