T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon, & Tevin Coleman leading rookie backs

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T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon, and Tevin Coleman all put in solid first efforts during the first week of the 2015 regular season. While none of them really stood out from the pack, these three all impressed. Ameer Abdullah also had a nice game for the Detroit Lions, but the focus has narrowed down to Yeldon, Gordon, and Coleman after Week 1.

Each week, we’ll be recapping the top rookie running backs and who is leading the charge at that position for the class of 2015. With the top back in the draft, Todd Gurley, still sitting out while recovering, it will fall to guys like Yeldon, Gordon, and Coleman to really lead the rookie class.

All three of them could be legitimate 2015 rushing title contenders.

We’ll check in with how all three have done over Week 1 and talk a bit about how they could do heading into Week 2.

But first…

Aug 13, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions running back Ameer Abdullah (21) evades a tackle from New York Jets free safety Calvin Pryor (25) during the first quarter of a preseason NFL football game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Honorable Mention: Ameer Abdullah, running back, Detroit Lions

Ameer Abdullah’s strong play should not simply be overlooked with just one line at the start of this article. Abdullah is a legitimate running threat and while I think the preseason was mostly just a tease, Abdullah has also impressed early.

With 50 yards on just seven attempts for a ridiculous 7.1 yards per carry and a touchdown, Abdullah’s play was pretty electrifying to say the least. He’s capable to ripping any rrun into a long gain, already boasting a 24-yarder.

If Ameer Abdullah can continue to get big gains every seven carries or so, he’ll be incredibly tough for defenses to account for. I think he deserves far more opportunities in the Detroit Lions offense, especially since he just keeps showing his ability every time he touches the ball. He also had four receptions for 44 yards, forcing another two missed tackles, according to Pro Football Focus’s measurements.

In Week 2, Abdullah should find plenty of running room against the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings let Carlos Hyde treat them like a doormat in Week 1, allowing Hyde to put up a league-high 168 yards on 26 attempts (6.5 yard per attempt) and score twice on the ground. Critically, Hyde forced five missed tackles.

Abdullah is certainly able to force a missed tackle or two and should be able to run free against a Vikings defense that was surprisingly disappointing against the run in Week 1.

Next: The first-round back with a strong first step