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90-man roster: Can RB Khalid Abdullah beat the odds?

Each year we profile each of the players on the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp. We start today with a player just added to the roster over the weekend.

NCAA Football: D1 Football Championship
Khalid Abdullah
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Khalid Abdullah got the attention of the NFL with a monstrous season at James Madsion. That earned the running back a rookie mini-camp tryout with the New York Giants, and he cashed that in by earning a spot on the 90-man roster. Let’s take a closer look at Abdullah as we begin player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

2016 Season in Review

Abdullah gained 1,809 yards rushing on 298 carries (6.1 yards per carry) last season. He also scored 22 touchdowns. All of that basically doubled his production from his first three seasons at James Madison.

Abdullah ended his James Madison career first in school history in rushing touchdowns (41), total touchdowns (45) and points scored (270), second in carries (673) and rushing yards (3,678), and fourth in all-purpose yards (4,077).

“I went from 900 yards (as a junior) to 1,700 or 1,800 yards, so they don’t know if you’re a one-hit wonder or not. I kind of understand those questions that scouts or teams might have,” Abdullah said. “But at the end of the day, I think they just have to look at the carries I was sharing with other people and that also will be your answer for my production – why I didn’t have as many yards the year before, things like that.

“Scouts really consider things. Anything they can nitpick, they’re going to nitpick because they’re making an investment. I definitely understand any questions they might have about me. I’m out there to prove them wrong, I’m out there to prove them right – either way.”

2017 Outlook

Can Abdullah stick in what suddenly looks like a crowded, multi-faceted Giants backfield? There is certainly plenty of doubt about that. There is, however, little doubt that Abdullah seems like a player worth rooting for. Watch the video below and learn why.

The Giants list Abdullah at 5-foot-10, 194 pounds. Other draft web site list him at 220 pounds. So, what is he?

Here is what says:

Abdullah's monstrous production will catch your attention and his tape makes him worthy of NFL consideration. There is nothing special about his size or speed, but he has the vision, burst and courage to potentially factor in as an undrafted running back who can fit into an inside/outside zone rushing team. He isn't ready for consideration as a third down back so he needs to prove he can shine in kick coverage.

The Giants reportedly spent some time before the draft getting to know Abdullah:

During the pre-draft process, Abdullah took a visit to New York, which included a dinner with coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese.

“My production was a little eye-popping for them,” Abdullah said last month after he met with the Giants. “And the fact that I have decent speed and that I can catch the ball out of the backfield and do all the things that you need, as far as a quality back, I think that’s what they liked about me.”

The Giants have second-year man Paul Perkins and veteran pass-catching back Shane Vereen at the top of their depth chart. They drafted Wayne Gallman in the fourth round in hopes he can complement Perkins. Orleans Darkwa has proven to be a solid special teams player and a capable ball carrier when he has been able to stay healthy. Shaun Draughn is a versatile six-year veteran signed in free agency to add depth.

Can Abdullah navigate all of that and find his way on to the roster? His odds don’t appear to be great, but Abdullah has beaten them before.