Chad Abram's pro day performance put him on the Lions' radar

Posted May 20, 2014

Chad Abram’s unique blend of power and speed make him an ideal fit for a Lions offense that’s putting the fullback back in play.

The Florida State University bio for Chad Abram refers to him as a “bulldozing” fullback who helped pave the way for 2,844 rushing yards and a 5.6 yards per carry average last season for the National Champions.

Chad AbramFB Chad Abram (Photo: AP Images)

What Lions fans should know about Abram is that he is much more than just a block-first fullback.

Abram ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds at 240 pounds at his pro day in March, a pro day attended by former Florida State alum and current Lions general manager Martin Mayhew.

It was that performance that really put Abram on the Lions' radar and he became one of their preferred free agent signings for the team immediately following the draft.

Abram’s unique blend of power and speed make him an ideal fit for a Lions offense that’s putting the fullback back in play.

“It’s an advantage for me because I can be a good target out of the backfield,” Abram told after Tuesday’s OTA practice on how his speed plays to his advantage.

“I was talking with (running backs) coach (Curtis) Modkins and he said they could use me on third downs because I’m a bigger back and I can block, and if no one is blitzing, I can get out (into the flat) just as fast as a regular running back can.”

Abram's ability to open holes for Reggie Bush and Joique Bell could be a huge plus, but it’s his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield that really impressed Mayhew.

“He really just caught a bunch of people’s eye catching the ball out of the backfield,” Mayhew said in a radio interview last week. “He’s almost 6-foot. He’s 240 pounds. He played a big role in teams down there until this year, so we see him as a guy who may have a chance as a fullback/special teams guy to come in and compete.”

Abram spent his first three seasons at Florida State as a special team’s ace. He started on three of four phases of special teams, serving as an edger on kickoff coverage, one of the back ends on kickoff return and one of the top coverage guys on punt return, usually responsible for manning the opponent's best coverage player.

“Like (special teams) coach (John) Bonomego says, special teams is the personality of the whole team,” Abram said. “Especially the kickoff team.

“You want to go down there and be as physical as possible and that can be the teams personality before the offense or defense gets a chance to get on the field. The other team will know everything they need to know about us.”

Abram said he “loves” playing special teams because they are some of the most competitive plays in a game.

The Lions signed veteran fullback Jed Collins this offseason, who came over from New Orleans where he spent the last three years in offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi’s scheme. Collins (6-1, 255) is bigger than Abram, and has caught 14 passes in each of the last two seasons, but he’s slower than Abram.

Who fits better for the Lions offense should be a good competition to keep an eye on in training camp.