Israel Abanikanda, RB
School: University of Pittsburgh | Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21 (Week 1)
Height / Weight: 5’ 10” 218 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 3rd-4th round
Player Comparison: Isiah Pacheco / Bigger Raheem Mostert
|Kick Ret||Punt Ret|
Israel Abanikanda (ah-banna-can-dah) was the New York State Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School (NY). He started his collegiate career with the University of Pittsburgh Panthers as a 3-star recruit. He received part-time ball carrier duties in his freshman year and was given more work in his sophomore season playing all 13 games. His last season, he led the ACC with 1,431 rushing yards and 20 rushing touchdowns in his breakout junior season that put him on the draft radar.
He garnered third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-ACC honors for his outstanding junior season. Abanikanda is a two-time 100-meter Gold Medalist at the New York City Mayor’s Cup Race. He formally met with the Commanders at the NFL Combine.
Abankinda is a one-cut and go runner who is a big play waiting to happen. He comes into the league with questions of if he has the power and toughness to run between the tackles.
- Insane production in senior year (21 total touchdowns, 1,577 scrimmage yards)
- Home run speed. Was an outstanding track athlete in high school.
- Big play waiting to happen. A menace in the open field.
- Not a lot of tread, only one 200+ carry season.
- Needs better run discipline. A bit impatient waiting for holes to open.
- Uneven change of direction, not fluid.
- Needs to work on staying in front of rusher in pass protection.
- Limited usage as a pass catcher.
Let’s See His Work
The Commanders met with RB Israel Abanikanda at the Combine. The type of home-run back Washington needs. #HTTC pic.twitter.com/fOwcWVq5cY https://t.co/Ggfsslh8ai— Josh Taylor (@JoshTaylorFB) March 16, 2023
#nfl #nfldraft #nflcombine #nfldraft2023 #nflxombine2023— Dave Heilman (@DynastyDorks) March 5, 2023
Talking with Israel Abanikanda at the combine for @SGPNfantasy & @TheSGPNetwork
Asked @IAbanikanda 2 Questions:
What players do you model your game off of ?
What was your favorite college moment?
Answers Below ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/ZYXxYfNr53
How Will He Fit On The Team
With Eric Bieniemy having full control of Washington’s offense, there could be a shake-up of offensive personnel. This could even come down to the running back room. While Bieniemy might not move on from Brian Robinson, Jr. and Antonio Gibson this season, he might prefer to have a running back similar to the backs he worked with before. It is unknown whether Bieniemy sees a comparison between Pacheco and Abanikanda, but he provides another running back into the committee with big play ability. While Abanikanda may not make an impact in his rookie season, if Washington decides to move on from Gibson next year, Abanikanda could see an increased role in the rushing attack as a speedier option to Robinson’s power.