2023 NFL Draft: Top 10 Running Backs and their fits with the Atlanta Falcons
No. 8: Israel Abanikanda, Pittsburgh
2022: 11 Games Played, 239 Carries, 1,431 Yards, 20 Touchdowns, 12 Catches, 146 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 12 Kick Returns, 228 Yards
2021: 13 Games Played, 123 Carries, 651 Yards, 7 Touchdowns, 24 Catches, 197 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 7 Kick Returns, 206 Yards, 1 Touchdown
2020: 7 Games Played, 28 Carries, 95 Yards, 1 Touchdown, 2 Catches, 11 Yards, 1 Touchdown
Teams will love the athleticism that Israel Abanikanda displays on the field. He has home run ability from anywhere. His competitive nature is just as plentiful as his speed is. He's a back who fights for every single yard on the field. It's rare when a back as big and fast as Abanikanda is. However, he still has trouble finding the open lanes and may not be the best back for a zone scheme. Teams will need to help him develop his pass-blocking and pass-catching as well.
On the flip side, he doesn't have a ton of miles on the tires and should be in line for a long career at just 21 years old when his pro career starts. The Falcons could love him as a mid-late round option to replace Caleb Huntley in 2023, and eventually be someone that could replace Cordarrelle Patterson moving forward if he can develop his pass-catching.