Mohamed Ibrahim draft profile

If suffering a torn Achilles is supposed to effectively end a running back's career, someone forgot to tell both Cam Akers and Minnesota RB, Mohamed Ibrahim. In the first game of Minnesota's 2021 season, Ibrahim was lighting up the Ohio Buckeyes to the tune of 163 rushing yards and 2 TDs in just the 3rd quarter when he suffered a season ending ruptured Achilles. For a player renowned for his strong work ethic and leadership, perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised that Ibrahim bounced back in 2022 as if he had never gotten injured at all, rolling up nearly 1,600 rushing yards. Will his impressive 2022 form vault Ibrahim back up draft boards and make him an early round pick?

I can't yet tell how NFL scouts will treat Ibrahim. Currently, several draft boards are low on him, but I wonder if perhaps they just were waiting for him to prove that he was healthy and will eventually come around as the draft process moves along. In a profile written prior to the season, Kyle Crabbs suggested that no matter how well Ibrahim performed in 2022, he might not get drafted at all.

My guess is that Ibrahim could be a very polarizing prospect in NFL team draft war rooms. Even beyond his 2021 injury, Ibrahim is considerably older than a normal prospect (he turns 25 next season), he's very short (5'9'' tall), and he runs slow (probably 4.6 second range). On the plus side, he was an extremely productive runner in college and couldn't be stopped even by talented opposing defenses. I could see one scout pounding the table for Ibrahim, saying he was a slam dunk starting RB in the NFL, while a different scout adamantly warning that he was going to be a bust and should be avoided in the draft. Mohamed Ibrahim will be an interesting case study in how teams resolve that debate and end up evaluating him.

Personally, I fall more in the pro-Ibrahim camp, I think he's a good player and a candidate to be a starting pro RB, but I also think that he probably doesn't have a high ceiling and shouldn't be projected to be a Pro Bowl level type guy. My NFL comp for him is Joe Morris, who played for the NY Giants.

Morris was drafted in 1982. Illustrating how NFL football is almost unrecognizable compared to how it was played 40 years ago, back in 1982 there were 7 running backs taken in the first round (which only had 27 picks at the time.) Morris was a 2nd round pick, the 9th RB taken and the Giants took a different RB in the 1st round, so Morris wasn't even the first RB they drafted that year. In today's era, the 9th RB typically gets selected in either the 4th or 5th round. Last year, it was Isaiah Spiller, a 4th round pick.

Morris played at Syracuse, where he's the career leader in rushing yards as well as the single game record holder (consider that Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Larry Csonka all played at Syracuse.) Morris was only about 5'7'' tall, but he was a very good RB, won a Super Bowl with the Giants and made multiple Pro Bowls.


Name: Mohamed Ibrahim, turns 25 years old next September. 6th year senior.

School: Minnesota, studied business and marketing education.

Size: Per Sports Illustrated 5'9 1/8'' tall, 210 pounds, 4.64 sec (40 time). NFLDraftBuzz has him at 4.52 sec in the 40. Listed by school as 5'10'' tall.

From Baltimore. Father is from Nigeria. Muslim. 3 star recruit. Redshirted in 2017.

2018 (9 starts): 202-1,160-9 rushing. Missed 3 games due to an upper body injury.

2019: 114-604-7

2020 (7 games): 201-1,076-15.

Didn't finish opening game of 2021 vs Ohio State due to Achilles injury.

2022: 304-1,594-19 rushing, 2 fumbles. Suffered a left ankle injury and missed one game in 2022.

Only has 22 receptions over career. Has very limited KR experience.

4 career fumbles, 873 total touches for a very low fumble rate of one per 218 touches.

TDN says he's instinctive, sets up defenders, anticipatory cuts, sudden change of direction, scheme versatile. Age and durability are negatives.

NFLDraftBuzz 109th overall (4th rd), 8th ranked RB. Solid in blitz pickup, can anchor vs bigger defenders, difficult to stop 1 vs 1, indecisive and hesitant at the line of scrimmage.

Draftcoutdown (Shane Hallam) 24th ranked RB

Drafttek 12th RB, 138th overall (late 4th rd)

ESPN 20th RB, 263rd overall (late 7th rd to UDFA)

In November 2021, he was Mel Kiper's 7th ranked RB for the 2022 draft.

Sports Illustrated says he's a smooth, one cut zone scheme RB. Excellent pass protection reads. Not refined route runner. Struggles with gap and power scheme reads. 5th round grade.


His best trait IMO is he's a very creative runner. Makes subtle feints approaching the line to draw LBs into the wrong gap. Presses the hole to set up his blocks and cutback lanes.

For example, this is one of my favorite runs from his games. It is an outside zone run to the right. The backside DT tries to go behind the LG and this results in a huge hole opening up immediately between the RG and the C. The C and RG are working a combo block on a different DT. An inexperienced RB often would cut directly through the hole, but the likely result is the LB will tackle the RB after a medium gain, maybe 5 yards or so. Ibrahim continues to press the hole by taking 2 additional steps going towards the right. This accomplishes 2 things. First, it causes the LB to continue to flow in that direction, widening him. Second, it gives the C an additional split second to climb to the 2nd level on the combo block. The result is when Ibrahim finally cuts upfield and runs through the hole in the middle, the RB and C are now in perfect relation with respect to the LB. If the RB had cut too soon, the LB beats the C, because the angle and timing would be messed up. Now, Ibrahim can execute the 2nd part of the play. The RB acts as if he's going to burst up the middle of the field. The LB tries to jump to the other side of the C so that he can recover back to the middle and make the tackle. Ibrahim instead cuts back the other way going to the right, using the C to screen the LB, which allows the RB to break into open field for a big gainer. Absolutely outstanding job by the RB, a perfect example of how a talented RB can rip off chunk yardage without having sub 4.4 second speed.

Takes handoff from QB, baits the MLB into the A gap, then once the LB gets sucked into the line, the RB bounces the run outside of the OT to get away.

Muscular, strong compact build, strong in the legs. A bowling ball that knocks over 2nd level defenders. Able to churn legs for more yards in pile.

Being short makes him difficult to tackle, because he has a very low center of gravity and very low pad level. Low man wins in many of his collisions and it is nearly impossible for defenders to get superior leverage.

Tough to stop in GL and short yardage.

Very good vision, sees the field well. Instinctive feel for when to bounce outside and when to cutback.

Excellent contact balance, stays up after hits. A bumper car that spins around, but keeps going. Uses his off arm to ward off defenders and escape tackle attempts.

Good wiggle, makes 2nd level defenders miss, oily hips leave safeties diving and coming up empty. Has a knack of breaking down, making it difficult for the defender to read which way he's going to cut, almost like Cooper Kupp. Facing unblocked defender near LOS, 1 vs 1, the RB sets up the defender by starting towards the outside, but once he gets the defender to lean, he spins back to the inside, escapes the tackle and goes by him.

Besides "creative", the 2nd word I'd use to describe him as a runner is "relentless". A greedy RB who wants to gobble up as many yards as possible, like Pac Man. Determined, but also under control and calm in running style. Fights for extra yards.

Good ball security. Ball tightly tucked to chest. Covers it up with 2 hands in traffic or when he anticipates a defender trying to punch it out from the side or behind.

Very experienced with zone runs out of an RPO scheme formation.

I can't tell any difference pre and post injury. Looks like the same RB to me.

Has a tight turning radius when running an angle route out of the backfield, like a small compact car.

Solid effort as pass blocker and on chip blocks.

Ready to contribute immediately, plug and play draft pick. Solid intangibles, leadership and football character.


Was a good college RB, but there could be substantial questions about whether his style and traits translate to the NFL game. In the pros, there isn't as much space and time for the RB to operate. The defenders are big, fast, athletic and some college players are pretty lousy. Ibrahim had space to set up LBs and make moves, but it is possible that what will happen to him in the NFL is even if he makes the 1st guy miss, the 2nd defender will get to him and make the tackle before he can get away. Or, Ibrahim will think he's set up the cutback, but before he can get through the hole it will close on him, because the gap isn't as big and doesn't stay open as long as it did back in Minnesota and he doesn't have enough speed to get through it.

Runs slow. No 2nd gear in open field, easily gets run down by defensive secondary. Not a home run hitter.

Very little short area burst. Doesn't make explosive cuts. Has to gear down to make sharp angle cuts, causing him to run even slower or pause.

Pass rushers easily run through him when pass blocking, not enough size, strength or athleticism. No effective length as a blocker. Has small radius as a blocker, so if he has to move laterally to sustain or cut off the pass rusher, he can't cover the arc and they go around him. LB coming through the A gap shoved right past him, then hit the QB. Lunges into pass blocks.

Almost no receiving production in college. He seems to be able to catch, but he's too slow releasing into the route out of the backfield. Unable to cut sharply and change directions to create separation as a receiver. Not quick enough of an athlete to make much impact as a receiving threat in the NFL. Probably only an early down RB and a liability if left on the field in obvious passing situations, both as a blocker and a receiver. Will need to be subbed out by a 3rd down specialist RB.

Didn't play in typical NFL system (though these days the line has become so blurred, with RPO and spread offense concepts become so common.) Almost all his runs were out of shotgun or Wildcat formation. Wasn't required to run normal routes as receiver very often or pass block in a traditional pass set with complicated protection calls.

Doesn't always switch ball to proper hand in open field.

Limited ST value. Too small for making tackles in coverage or for blocking and not fast enough to be quality returner.

Much older than typical prospect. Had serious leg injury.

Probably maxed out, no developmental upside as an athlete.

Draft Grade and Pro Comp

4th round, Joe Morris (2nd round 1982, NYG, Syracuse)

I don't have Mohamed Ibrahim as high as Dameon Pierce or Brian Robinson Jr. from last year's draft (I gave them 3rd and 4th rd grades, respectively), but I feel that Ibrahim is a better prospect than Isaiah Spiller (who I had as a 4th rd prospect.) Spiller is younger and bigger, but Ibrahim is better at zone runs, is more consistent and creative as a runner, and has better ball security. Both Ibrahim and Spiller are lacking in speed.

Robinson was drafted in the compensatory part of the 3rd round, while Pierce went near the very top of the 4th round. Both of those RBs have looked good as rookies. Pierce recently picked up an injury, but he had almost 1,000 yards despite playing behind a very poor offensive line (the Texans are 27th in run block win rate.) Robinson doesn't have an elite OL either (Washington is 16th in RBWR, one spot ahead of the Rams) and is averaging less than 4 yards per carry, but he's been a star on Kyle Brandt's Angry Runs segment for Good Morning Football, building a reputation as one of the better power RBs in the league. Spiller has gotten very little playing time with the Chargers, averaging 2.3 yards per carry in limited action.

Ibrahim likely will never be a true 3 down RB in the NFL, because he has limitations in the pass game, but he's a talented runner who can generate yardage beyond what is blocked for him by the offensive line. That has value in the NFL, which is why I think he's worthy of consideration as a middle round draft pick.

I'm not overly worried about his age and injury history, because in today's era, RBs are generally treated as having brief shelf lives anyway. Even if you draft a good one, you probably won't sign that player to a 2nd contract. Plus, RBs get injured so much in the NFL anyway, what's the difference between Ibrahim tearing his Achilles in college and Akers tearing his Achilles as a pro? James Robinson was a good back for the Jags as a rookie UDFA. Then, he tore his Achilles near the end of his 2nd season and the team traded him during his 3rd season. The Rams traded up to get Hendo in the 3rd round and he didn't technically complete his rookie contract, because the Rams waived him prior to the end of year 4. Hendo was briefly with the Jaguars (Robinson's former team), but they also waived him and he's currently a free agent, not on an NFL roster.

So, let's say Ibrahim only ends up producing 2 to 3 quality seasons for an NFL team. Who cares? How is that any different than the average draft outcome for many other recent RB draft picks, especially if we are only talking about a 4th round selection? Sure, it would be different if we were talking about Ibrahim as a possible 1st round pick, but that's not where I have him. Running backs these days in the NFL, easy come, easy go. Even if you find a truly special one, it can become a double edged sword, because do you really want to pay a high salary to a RB to keep him? The NYG and Saquon, the Panthers with McCaffrey, the Titans with Henry, it is debatable how much a difference even an elite RB makes in the big picture. It isn't 1982 anymore.

Currently, I'm higher on Ibrahim than several of the major draft boards, but I wonder if that will remain true by the time we get to the actual draft (starts on April 27), a full 4 months from now.