Although Jay Ajayi was not the featured back for the Miami Dolphins throughout the 2015 season, all Dolphin’s fans should know his name by now. Especially for the fact that he may be the lead running back this upcoming season. For some reason though, many analysts are quick to judge Miami’s running back situation for the 2016 season. At this point in time, Miami’s depth chart in the backfield looks like this: Jay Ajayi, Damien Williams, Daniel Thomas, Isaiah Pead, Jahwan Edwards, and recent third round draft pick Kenyan Drake. All of whom will have the chance to compete for a starting role, but in an interview earlier this morning, Adam Gase has already stated that Jay Ajayi has separated himself from the pack (in my opinion, this should be no surprise to any Dolphins fan).
Gase stated earlier today speaking on Ajayi, “He’s been one of those guys, he’s been here every day. He’s done everything right. You can tell he’s looking to improve. He doesn’t say much, just keeps working.” Gase later spoke on the fact that the other running backs have also been focused on giving their all, but Ajayi’s consistency everyday has separated himself from the pack. It looks like replacing Lamar Miller, who left for the Houston Texans, will not be as difficult to replace as once thought. Whenever I hear NFL Network or other analysts speak on Miami’s backfield as if they have dire needs back there, I can’t help but ask myself, “Why not Jay Ajayi?”
Even last season former interim head coach Dan Campbell was reported to have the belief that Ajayi was in fact BETTER than starter Lamar Miller. Maybe that was why towards the end of the 2015 season Lamar Miller was playing less, while Ajayi was getting more reps? Even after only one single voluntary practice this season, new head coach Adam Gase spoke highly of Ajayi saying, “I guess I never realized how shifty he was, and today was a great example…Just seeing him stick his foot in the ground and change direction, you didn't see him do that a lot in college.” Speaking of Ajayi’s college days, he is the only player in FBS history to record 1,800 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving in a single season. That in itself lets everyone know Ajayi not only can be great in the running game, but he can also achieve great things in the receiving aspect of the game. Ajayi is also tied for second in Boise State history with 50 touchdowns, not to mention his many other highlights throughout his college career. After being drafted in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Ajayi was quickly viewed as a “draft steal”. Once viewed as a second round projection, Miami winning his skills in the fifth round should definitely be a steal. During the draft one AFC Scout said, “Of all the backs in this draft, Ajayi might be my favorite because he can do everything you want from a back and you don't have to find a complementary back to pick up the slack for him in any one area." That’s great news for the type of offense Gase will be implementing. Which makes me wonder again, “Why can’t Ajayi be the answer?”
In Jay’s first season he unfortunately was not able to have many touches due to the fact he was placed on IR for the first six weeks from a broken rib. With the few chances he had though, he made the best of them. In his first NFL game against the Buffalo Bills, Ajayi had 5 attempts for 41 yards; (that’s an 8.2 avg). The very next week against the Jets he recorded 6 attempts for 48 yards, (an 8.0 avg) In both those games Jay Ajayi has two runs for almost 25 yards a piece. He has a breakout run for a touchdown just waiting to happen this upcoming season. So after writing this article, I ask you the fans, Why not Ajayi?