Jay’s Day: The Miami Dolphins Select Powerful Runner, Jay Ajayi
The Miami Dolphins manage to steal the Boise State running back in the 5th round, adding a power player to compliment the speed of incumbent starter Lamar Miller.
The Miami Dolphins continue to show great patience in this year’s draft, adding help at running back in the 5th round. Very few thought that Jay Ajayi would fall as far as he did, and Miami was the team to finally pull the trigger on the ex-Bronco. Ajayi comes to the team with looming knee issues, but has the potential to be a huge contributor for Bill Lazor’s offense out of the backfield.
6’0- 221 lbs.
40-Yard Dash- 4.57 Sec.
Bench Press- 19 Reps
Vertical Jump: 39” (Top RB)
Broad Jump: 121 inch. (Top RB)
2013: First Team All-Mountain West
2013: Academic All-Mountain West
2014: Only player ever with 1800+ yards rushing, 500+ yards receiving
2014: First Team All-Mountain West
2014: Third Team All-American
Jay Ajayi is an incredibly gifted running back, and was actually projected by NFL.com as a second round pick. The Miami Dolphins managed to steal him in the 5th round, and acquired a power back to compliment Lamar Miller on short yardage situations. Ajayi is a powerful runner, able to push through holes and produce gains in short yardage situations. In addition to his downhill running style, Jay Ajayi has good quickness and lateral movement, and is able to bounce outside with ease. His flexibility and quick feet will both be huge assets for a Dolphins team that needs a one-cut, downhill running back.
The Boise State product also has good acceleration, which allows him to make plays into the second level. Ajayi has a unique combination of power and acceleration, which allows him to power through defenders even in the second level. On tape, you see him beating bigger linebackers and safeties to produce big yardage. Ajayi’s best trait could be his determination; he is constantly exerting additional effort, and fighting for extra yardage. The Miami Dolphins needed a running back with strength to compliment Lamar Miller, and managed to steal one in the 5th round of the draft.
Ajayi enters the NFL with medical concerns, having documented knee issues throughout his career. The Miami Dolphins’ mindset could be that he will have a reduced workload due to the presence of Lamar Miller, and will therefore have better longevity. The team has had noted interest in Ajayi since the combine, and probably decided that they might as well select him if he fell all of the way to the 5th round. Outside of his medical issues, he is an early-second round prospect.
In terms of on-field issues, Ajayi does not have any huge red flags. Many believe that he is too eager to bounce a run outside. This is a problem for many backs as they reach the NFL, and Bill Lazor will have to work to turn Ajayi into a better one-cut back. He is also too willing to make contact, and should have been able to avoid much of the contact he savored at Boise State. While enjoying contact makes him a fun running back to watch, he will not be able to power through defenders as easily at the NFL level. If he can improve his decision-making and elusiveness, Ajayi’s concerns will purely be medical as he begins his NFL career.
The Miami Dolphins have an absolute steal on their hands with Jay Ajayi. The team needed a power running back to pair with the speedy Lamar Miller, and they were able to find that player in the 5th round. Many believed that Jay Ajayi was a second-round player, with the third-round as his absolute floor. Before the draft, medical concerns sunk his draft stock, giving the Miami Dolphins a chance to grab him with one of their forty thousand picks in the 5th round.
This pick comes down to how much Ajayi is on the field: if he isn’t able to get himself off of the trainer’s table, he obviously wont contribute for the team. The Dolphins took a chance on the Boise State Bronco, hoping that they can get offensive production from a late round pick. There will be less pressure on Ajayi as the second string running back, but he will make plays in short yardage and out of the backfield (one of the best receiving backs in the draft). The Miami Dolphins continue to build an excellent 2015 draft class, consistently adding players who can contribute all over the field, and could help the team achieve their goal of a playoff-berth in a suddenly competitive AFC-East division.