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
Jay Ajayi, running back from Boise State, is one of the most intriguing running backs in this year’s draft. He doesn’t carry as much name value as Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, but he has his own set of talents that will make him valuable to an NFL team, and of course your dynasty team.
Ajayi was very efficient during his freshman season, rushing for 548 yards on 82 carries establishing a 6.7 yards per carry average. Ajayi’s production ramped up when he received the lead back role during his sophomore year by rushing for 1,425 yards and 18 TDs and catching 22 passes for 222 yards and 1 TD. Ajayi blew up during his junior season when he rushed for 1,823 yards and 28 TDs. He was also a major factor in the passing game for Boise State by catching 50 passes for 535 yards and 4 TDs. Ajayi’s college production is very impressive. It shows that he’s very efficient in the run game, and proves he can be a receiver out of the backfield, which is huge for PPR leagues. One thing to note about Ajayi’s production is that he had most of his games against teams in the Mountain West Conference, which is a conference that isn’t considered a powerhouse by any means.
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Ajayi has the size you want in a running back at 5’11 221 pounds. Ajayi is fast for his size with a 4.57 40 yard dash. He doesn’t have elite speed. He’s not going to break many 70 yard touchdown runs, but he has the speed to be dangerous in the 2nd level of the defense. Ajayi is an explosive running back and that’s demonstrated with his 39’’ vertical jump. His explosiveness is going help him get through the holes at the next level. Ajayi tested very well at the combine, and I feel that he’s undervalued right now. His metrics tells the story of a 3-down feature back. He has the size and speed and quickness, which is usually a formula for a 3-down running back.
Ajayi does a lot of things thing right. He’s very good at catching the ball. He runs very good routes out of the backfield. He’s an aggressive downhill runner that is not afraid to endure contact to gain a few extra yards. His metrics tells us that he doesn’t have elite speed, but is fast enough to be dangerous in the open field. The film displays the same thing. He doesn’t break off long runs, but he’s still a threat to bust out a 20-30 yarder at any given time. He has great hips. He has a good ability to run laterally quickly and efficiently when he has too. Due to his aggressive running style, he is very good at running between the tackles. He has a nasty stiff arm, which can sometimes get him a few extra yards. Ajayi is a good runner, but at times he lacks the vision to find the running lane, leaving him swarmed by defenders getting a minimal gain. He lacks decisiveness at times and stutter steps before hitting the hole, which is something he’s going to have to work on to be more consistent at the next level. Ajayi’s lack of vision isn’t atrocious, so don’t get thoughts of Trent Richardson in the back of your head.
Ajayi is going to be a top 100 pick for sure, and more than likely he’s going to be drafted in the top half of the 2nd round. I like him a lot in dynasty leagues because he has the ability to be a 3-down back, and he’s a very talented receiver. Ajayi is going to hold a lot of value in PPR leagues. I have Ajayi graded as a mid-1st round rookie pick, and my 3rd RB off the board after Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon. Ajayi has the ability to creep into the top 3 in some rookie drafts if he’s drafted into a favorable situation, like Dallas. If you are in need of a running back, Ajayi should be on your radar.
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