Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi Pro Comparison


The Miami Dolphins got a steal by taking RB Jay Ajayi out of Boise State in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft.  Some people were surprised to see Ajayi fall to the fifth round, as he is the only player in NCAA history to run for 1,800 yards and have 500 receiving yards in the same season.  However, a nasty knee injury that Ajayi suffered back in 2011 likely accounted for his 3 round slide (he was projected to go as high as the 2nd).

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That being said, the Dolphins pounced, and got outstanding value on a high ceiling player in the fifth.  Ajayi is a bruiser, standing in at 6 feet, 220 pounds of pure muscle.  Who does he resemble in the NFL?

None other than Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch.

For one, Ajayi and Lynch have very similar measurements.  While Ajayi is slightly taller (Lynch is 5 foot 11), Lynch has roughly 10 pounds on Ajayi.  However, expect to see Ajayi work hard this off season and in training camp, and make up that difference in weight by week 1 of next season.

Both also shared similar stats in college, playing for two west-coast power programs in Boise State (Ajayi) and California (Lynch).  Both entered the NFL Draft after their junior year.  Here are Ajayi’s notable college numbers:

679 attempts, 3,796 rushing yards (5.6 yard avg), 50 TD’s.  73 receptions, 771 yards, 5 TD’s.

Here are Lynch’s numbers:

490 attempts, 3,320 rushing yards (6.6 yard avg), 29 TD’s. 68 receptions, 600 yards, 6 TD’s.

What sticks out about these numbers? For one, both backs were extremely productive in their respective offenses, both in the rushing game and in the passing game.  Both backs are extremely good out of the backfield, and I think Ajayi may even get the nod in that aspect.  Both backs can take heavy work loads, and both are great at one thing in particular: scoring.

Outside of the numbers, Ajayi possesses the same downhill, make you miss, running style that Lynch has found success using in the NFL.  Both men run with a chip on their shoulders, and do not shy away from contact.  It often takes two or three guys to take them down, and by that time they have collected a nice 5 or 6 yard gain.

Will Ajayi ever become as successful as Lynch?  That is impossible to say this early.  A lot of that depends on current starter Lamar Miller, and just how much time Ajayi will get in his career.