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Jay Ajayi | Running Back

Team: Boise State Broncos
Ht / Wt:  6'0" / 216

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Dolphins selected Boise State RB Jay Ajayi with the No. 149 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.
A day-two talent based on tape, measurables and stats, Ajayi plummeted due to concerns over his right knee, which NFL Network's Mike Mayock has reported is "bone on bone." Ajayi (6'0/221) turned 678 college carries into 3,796 yards (5.60 YPC) and 50 TDs, adding 73 catches. He ran 4.57 at the Combine, also impressing in the vertical (39") and broad (10'1") jumps with one of the fastest 20-yard shuttle times (4.10) by a running back. On tape, Ajayi looks like Marshawn Lynch with a compact, muscular build but isn't quite as physical. More of a loose-hipped finesse back, Ajayi is an extremely aggressive runner with light feet and an ability to change speeds on a dime. Ajayi fumbled 11 times at Boise and must tighten up his pass protection, but could eventually be a three-down back if he works out the kinks and stays healthy. He's competition for Lamar Miller, but perhaps not an immediate 2015 threat. Sat, May 2, 2015 02:28:00 PM

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ESPN NFL Insider Jon Gruden pegs Boise State RB Jay Ajayi as "a big back with Ricky Watters-type size" who "is a slasher with good production," but said he would "need to find out whether we could coach him up in other areas of the game" before drafting the prospect.

Gruden questions several aspects of Ajayi's game -- and never mentions health concerns, which might hurt his NFL evaluation the most -- including catching, pass protection and ball security. "Pro coaches are going to blitz you. Rex Ryan is coming after you, and the running back has to pick up the blitz. Is this something we can train or is it something guys just don't get into?" Gruden said. The former coach concluded: "I see the running skills and hear the measurables, but when you break down pass protection, it has to be looked at carefully. That was a concern when I watched Boise State."
Thu, Apr 30, 2015 03:30:00 PM

"Several teams" have removed Boise State RB Jay Ajayi from their board or "backed way off" due to medical questions, according to Bob McGinn.

The medical in question is Ajayi's knee as he underwent knee surgery in 2011. One beat writer previously described the knee as "shredded" during the time of injury. "I just don't know if he'll hold up physically," one scout told McGinn. We think Ajayi is extremely talented with long speed, occasionally breaking tackles and comfort in space as a receiver, but keep the injury in mind of more talented backs go off the board before Ajayi.
Sun, Apr 26, 2015 09:44:00 AM

ESPN's Todd McShay notes that Boise State RB Jay Ajayi "can handle the role of a power back, but he also has good overall vision, patience and agility, which makes him capable of playing in a zone scheme as well."

McShay ranks Ajayi No. 50 overall. "What really helps his cause as a prospect is he's a natural pass-catcher who can be productive in this area early in his NFL career," he wrote. "He needs to get a little better in pass protection, and he isn't the most explosive back, but he should be valuable on third down." The major question regarding Ajayi right now is his health. CBS Sports' Dane Brugler and TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline both recently reported that the NFL is concerned by Ajayi's knee, which he injured in 2011.
Thu, Apr 23, 2015 06:13:00 PM

NFL Media analyst Mike Mayock believes Boise State RB Jay Ajayi is a "solid second-round pick," but believes he could slide to the third round.

Ajayi's agent, Erik Burkhardt, has made it known there is no problem with Ajayi's knee, and he was not asked to attend the Combine's medical recheck. The Boise State prospect did have a knee injury back in October of 2011, which was four years ago. Mayock stated that there has been "significant concern" about Ajayi's medical, which could have him slide to the third. Interested teams with hopes of an Ajayi slide, could be behind all of this, with the draft just one week away.
Thu, Apr 23, 2015 02:04:00 PM

There are "strong" concerns in NFL circles about Boise State RB Jay Ajayi's right knee, reports CBS Sports' Dane Brugler.

"Will RB Jay Ajayi fall? I can't answer that, some teams might be okay with his knee," Brugler wrote. "But multiple teams are not." TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline reported Monday that a "number of teams" have red flagged Ajayi's knee. Ajayi's agent continues to insist there's no problem and Ajayi was not asked to attend the Combine's medical recheck. Ajayi's horrific knee injury occurred in October 2011.
Tue, Apr 21, 2015 11:21:00 PM

A "number of teams" have red flagged Boise State RB Jay Ajayi's knee when reviewing medical checks, according to Tony Pauline.

The right knee injury (which was described as "shredded") occurred during practice, a week apart from an attempted theft when Ajayi was 18 years old. Beat writer Chadd Cripe once said "The injury on the field was so bad that coaches wondered if he'd recover." Pauline's report is worth keeping in mind during draft weekend, especially if Ajayi stays on the board longer than expected. The knee in question likely is not an immediate concern but more about longevity. (We were incorrect in previously saying the injury occurred during the theft that was mentioned.)
Mon, Apr 20, 2015 12:43:00 PM

ESPN's K.C. Joyner reports that Boise State's Jay Ajayi and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon were the only two RBs in college football to make opposing tacklers miss at least 60 tackles last year.

No other back had even 50. Ajayi also tied for fifth nationally in broken tackles (16), ranked second in red-zone rushing yards (299) and first in red-zone rushing touchdowns (25). "Add in his superb passing-game ability (Scouts Inc. gave him a "1" rating here that designates exceptional performance in this area) and it equals a back who could provide a huge shot in the arm for an NFL offense in 2015," Joyner wrote.
Sun, Apr 19, 2015 10:07:00 PM's Frank Cooney believes that Boise State RB Jay Ajayi "is not a sure thing, but his natural abilities are tremendous."

Ajayi was born in London to Nigerian parents and grew up playing soccer. "For a guy who grew up depending on his feet, Ajayi is surprisingly effective as a receiver where he shows exceptional hand-eye coordination," Cooney wrote. "His instincts and moves as a runner cannot be taught and he seems comfortable as a receiver. But Ajayi will need to add muscle to pass block and he must prove he can use those big, 10-inch hands to keep the ball secure." Ajayi is an every-down back, a rarity these days. "To be able to be on the field three downs you have to be good enough running the ball on first and second down and being capable of picking up blitzes on third down, catching the ball out of the backfield on third down," Ajayi said. "That's where a lot of these games are won, converting on those third downs and getting more first downs. You have to find running backs who are able to do that."
Source: CBS Sports
Tue, Apr 14, 2015 08:24:00 AM's Ian Rapoport reports that Boise State RB Jay Ajayi had dinner with the Cowboys' coaches and staff on Thursday night and visited the Ravens.

The Cowboys lost DeMarco Murray via free agency, but did sign former Raider RB Darren McFadden. The Ravens re-signed veteran Justin Forsett and released RB Bernard Pierce in the off season. Both teams likely see the Boise State prospect as a long-term option at the RB position. In 2014, Ajayi was quite productive in the run and the passing game, rushing for 1,823 yards and 28 TDs, while hauling in 50 receptions for 535 yards.
Fri, Apr 10, 2015 02:51:00 PM

Cowboys executive VP Stephen Jones told the media his organization is "wide open" to the idea of drafting a running back.

The Cowboys plan, in hindsight, appears pretty straightforward. After a huge season in which he took a beating, the club presumably figured, it was best for another team to devote a large chunk of cap space to DeMarco Murray. With Adrian Peterson perhaps available and a historically stacked RB class waiting for them, plenty of safety nets were and are available. Hopefully one of those parachutes deploys, because the team currently employs the forgettable trio of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and Lance Dunbar. Georgia's Todd Gurley and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon are far from locks to be available when Dallas picks late in the first round. Barring a trade up or a late push for Peterson, Cowboys' pick at No. 60 looks like prime real estate to stop the slide of one of many stud "second tier" running backs like Jay Ajayi, who wouldn't, in most years, be considered "second tier." Last week, ESPN's Steve Muench wrote that Ajayi would be an ideal fit for the Cowboys.
Wed, Mar 25, 2015 12:59:00 AM

Boise State RB Jay Ajayi met with the Jacksonville Jaguars, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons after his pro day workout.

Each of those four organizations is far from settled at running back, so it's possible Ajayi was in fact interviewing with his future employer. If Adrian Peterson forces his way out of Minnesota, Ajayi could provide a ready-made replacement. The 49ers and Falcons, respectively, figure to want to add a complimentary back to Carlos Hyde and Devonta Freeman (though San Francisco may feel set with Reggie Bush as Hyde's running mate). Jacksonville's Toby Gerhart experiment didn't pan out, making running back a pressing need once again. Ajayi is almost assured of getting popped in Round 2.
Sun, Mar 22, 2015 09:56:00 PM

ESPN's Steve Muench believes Boise State RB Jay Ajayi would be an ideal fit for the Cowboys in Round 2.

"Ajayi is a bigger back (6-0, 221 pounds) who gives blockers enough time to get into position and hits the gas as soon as he locates a seam, so he would make the most of playing behind Dallas' offensive line," Muench wrote. The analyst cited average speed, heavy collegiate workload, health concerns and fumbling concerns as reasons that he could potentially drop to Dallas' second-round slot. All that said, he likes Ajayi a lot -- and with good reason. "He doesn't just take what his blockers give him, either, as he's shown the ability to make the first defender miss and pick up yards after contact," he wrote. "As far as the passing game is concerned, he's an above-average route-runner for the position, he has good hands and he produces after the catch. He also made strides as a pass-blocker last year."
Fri, Mar 20, 2015 03:32:00 PM

Boise State RB Jay Ajayi "ranks anywhere from a high of No. 2 on running back boards around the league to a low of No. 6," according to TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.

We've heard rumblings that Ajayi has perhaps moved ahead of Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon on a few boards, and now a plugged-in reporter is confirming the same. "I'm told Jay Ajayi looked good in running back drills, especially catching the ball," Pauline wrote of the prospect's pro day. Ajayi elected not to run the forty, standing on his combine numbers (4.57 forty; 1.59 10; 4.1 20-yard shuttle; 7.1 second 3-cone). Ajayi dined with the San Diego Chargers on Tuesday.
Thu, Mar 19, 2015 10:56:00 PM

Boise State RB Jay Ajayi will not run the forty at the school's pro day on Wednesday, according to Tony Pauline.

Ajayi will go through position drills. He tested like an above average RB athlete at the Combine, posting a 4.57 forty, 1.59 10, 4.1 20 yard short shuttle, and 7.1 second three cone. Ajayi will be in the discussion for the second running back off the board.
Wed, Mar 18, 2015 12:19:00 PM