If you are just a casual NFL fan, you probably don’t know the name Jay Ajayi. But if you follow the draft closely, you probably have noticed that he has been getting more and more attention as the draft gets closer. Jay Ajayi stands at 6’0” tall and weighs 216 lbs according to ESPN, and is coming out of Boise State as a Redshirt Junior. In this post I will break down Ajayi’s game with a pros and cons section, lay out his collegiate production, give a pro-player comparison, and explain how he would fit in with the Minnesota Vikings.
Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Wildcats 38-30. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
+ Muscular, compact frame that is built to last. Allows Ajayi to run with power while not sacrificing speed.
+ Good, but not great speed. Has enough speed to break off a long run.
+ Uses blockers very well. Reminds me of how Arian Foster uses his blockers.
+ Absolutely fantastic vision. Able to see holes and cutback lanes before they form. This was especially evident in the Colorado State game.
+ Can run in between the tackles with power but also has the speed to break it outside.
+ Most of the time does a good job in pass-protection.
+ Good at catching balls and making plays in the pass game, however concentration drops can be an issue.
+ Great balance. Has light feet and uses them well in a similar way to Marshawn Lynch.
+ Good burst. Hits holes with authority.
Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) following the game against the Arizona Wildcats in the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. The Broncos defeated the Wildcats 38-30. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
– Was used a a workhorse at Boise State which put a lot of mileage in the tank. However, this could be a non-issue due to his muscular and compact frame.
– While most of the time pass-protects just fine, sometimes he doesn’t get low enough which leads to being overpowered by the defender.
– Possible inconsistent effort. He will routinely break tackles that are tough to break and sometimes be tackled by an arm tackle.
– Didn’t play against very many “good” teams, however he did have a nice game against Arizona in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl.
Ajayi excelled as a college football player. In his first year in a rotational back role, he carried the ball 82 times for 548 yards, a 6.7 yards per carry average, and 4 touchdowns. He also caught one pass for 14 yards.
In his second year, he really started to become the workhorse that he is today. He carried the ball 249 times for 1,425 yards, a 5.7 yards per carry average, and 18 touchdowns. He also caught 22 passes for 222 yards and 1 touchdown.
In his third and final year at Boise State, Ajayi blew up. He carried the ball a whopping 347 times for 1,823 yards, a 5.3 yards per carry average, and an insane 28 touchdowns. He also caught 50 passes for another 535 yards and 4 touchdowns according to ESPN.
While he boasts elite stats, he touched the ball an absurd 397 times last season. Although this shows durability, it also puts a lot of wear and tear on the human body.
A poor-man’s combination of Jamaal Charles and Marshawn Lynch. Runs with the light feet of Marshawn Lynch and has similar burst and vision to Jamaal Charles.
How Would he Fit With the Vikings?
As is becoming custom this offseason, this fit really hinges on whether or not Adrian Peterson is back with the team next year. If he is, then while Ajayi could still be drafted in most likely the 2nd round and groomed as Peterson’s replacement, it would diminish the need for a RB and the 2nd round pick could be spent elsewhere. However, if Adrian is gone, it would present a big need for RB and open the door for Spielman to select Ajayi. While there are a lot of good backs in this draft class, Ajayi will be among the best available on day 2. Ajayi would bring a complete back to Minnesota that could initially split carries with Jerrick McKinnon and eventually take over as a bell-cow do-it-all back.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment below, and be sure to follow me on twitter @jackmack28 for draft talk and my golden opinions that many of you will disagree with.