football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft Israel Abanikanda
NFL Draft

What Are Israel Abanikanda’s 4 Best NFL Team Fits?

  • Justin Melo
  • March 29, 2023
  • Share

Pittsburgh running back Israel Abanikanda put forth an outstanding performance during his Pro Day. Abanikanda had a 41-inch vertical and a 10-foot-8 broad jump. Both results would have topped all participating running backs at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Abanikanda reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in the low 4.4s. Abanikanda broke out for the Panthers in 2022 by recording 1,431 rushing yards on 239 carries (6.0 yards per carry). He accounted for 13 touchdowns in 11 appearances.

Israel Abanikanda’s draft stock is officially soaring. He’ll be a top-100 selection and we’ve identified four ideal fits.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

The Chargers are entrenched in a contract standoff with running back Austin Ekeler. Ekeler, whose contract is set to expire at the conclusion of 2023, is seeking an extension. The situation is nearing the point of no return with Ekeler recently requesting a trade, a wish that general manager Tom Telesco is open to granting.

Ekeler’s departure would leave the Chargers with a massive hole at running back. The likes of Joshua Kelley and Isaiah Spiller haven’t proven themselves capable of shouldering the massive workload Ekeler would leave behind. Abanikanda is still proving himself as a pass-catching threat, but he’d instantly become the Chargers’ most talented rusher.

DALLAS COWBOYS

The Cowboys planted their flag at running back by signing Tony Pollard to the franchise tag and releasing Ezekiel Elliott. Dallas’ focus now shifts to pairing Pollard with a power back. Abanikanda fits the bill.

Pollard was at his best when paired with a powerful ball-carrier that can grind out tough short-yardage situations. Abanikanda is a 217-pound machine that runs with the expected power his frame suggests. Abanikanda features terrific contact balance and consistently wins after initial contact.

The Cowboys haven’t pursued running backs via the free-agent market. It suggests the Cowboys are comfortable with drafting a ball-carrier. Abanikanda should be a high-priority target for Dallas.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

The Bengals lost an underrated contributor in Samaje Perine to free agency. Perine was the ideal change-of-pace back in Cincinnati. In 2022, Perine accounted for 133 touches, 681 total yards, and six touchdowns. The Bengals must replace Perine’s production.

The 2023 campaign could be Joe Mixon’s last in Cincinnati. Recent draft pick Chris Evans hasn’t proven to be more than a special teamer. Abanikanda doesn’t quite run with as much power as Perine does, but he’s an ascending talent that’s one of the more powerful ball carriers in the 2023 NFL Draft.

ATLANTA FALCONS

Tyler Allgeier had an outstanding rookie campaign in 2022 all things considered. The No. 151 overall selection, Allgeier rushed for 1,035 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Allgeier secured a prominent role in Atlanta’s offense moving forward as a result, but I believe Arthur Smith will draft another running back in 2023.

Expect coach Smith to make the running game a focal point of Atlanta’s offense. Acquiring a blocking tight end like Jonnu Smith was key to that plan. Alleviating pressure off the shoulders of Desmond Ridder is crucial. Smith will attempt to achieve that by leaning on multiple backs. Abanikanda would be effective in Atlanta.