Many fans groaned at the sight of the recent signings the Miami Dolphins have made, namely at the running back position. First, the Dolphins decided to sign former Los Angeles Rams 2nd round pick Isaiah Pead, who has logged a meager 78 rushing yards and 96 receiving yards in his entire career since being drafted in 2012. Pead has made little out of his NFL career thus far, despite being part of the crop that the Rams received in addition for giving up their first round pick to the Washington Redskins, who sold the farm to draft Robert Griffin III, now a member of the Cleveland Browns.
Then, the Miami Dolphins did the unthinkable and brought back enormous bust Daniel Thomas, a former in-house second round pick that the team traded up to get (losing a pick) in 2011. Thomas never reached his potential in Miami, logging just 1,480 yards on 409 attempts and 10 TD's with 6 fumbles spanning from 2011-2014. As a result of his poor play, Thomas was released in the final roster cuts prior to the 2014 season. The re-signing of Thomas did not garner positive responses from the Miami Dolphins' Twitter-sphere, shown below.
That being said, Daniel Thomas and Isaiah Pead are by no means the team's plan moving forward at the running back position. And in my opinion, if anything, these signings mean one thing: the Miami Dolphins are planning on moving forward with Jay Ajayi as at least one of the team's featured backs. The likelihood is that the Miami Dolphins will address the RB position (the team has reported wanting a "stable" of backs this upcoming season) in the draft or via a trade on or after draft day. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if Pead and Thomas don't make the first or second round of cuts come August. They are simply being brought into garner competition and compete, and will be given a shot to prove that they have anything left at this moment in their careers.
But for now, back to Ajayi. There is nothing about Ajayi that suggests he is not ready to be a workhorse in this league. Let's look at his numbers from his rookie season. Ajayi did not get to play much, filling the role as the backup to rising star Lamar Miller, now with the Houston Texans. Ajayi touched the ball just 49 times as a rookie, logging 187 yards for a 3.8 y/c average and one touchdown. Where he truly shines is out of the backfield as a pass catcher, and Ajayi proved that last year in his limited role, totaling 90 yards on 7 catches with a long of 20.
Ajayi was an absolute beast in college as a member of the Boise State Broncos.He is the only player in NCAA Division I history with 1,500 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season, and his numbers at Boise were worthy of at least a top 3 round selection. The only reason Ajayi didn't go higher than round 5 were concerns over a knee injury he suffered more than a few years ago. He managed to stay healthy despite his limited role last season.
He averaged nearly 6.0 yards per carry in college, and was a TD machine, totaling 51 total TD's in college. Ajayi can run in between the tackles, and is able to shed tackles with his low center of gravity and his ability to keep his legs churning in contact.
He is an above-average pass protector and one of the best pass catchers to come out of college since Matt Forte.
I for one believe in Jay Ajayi as a starting RB in this league. He may not have tons of NFL experience yet, but new HC Adam Gase has expressed his excitement to work with Ajayi. The best part about Ajayi?
He has a chip on his shoulder for the 31 other NFL teams that did not decide to take a chance on him