The 2015 NFL Draft will be held on April 30 through May 2 in Chicago, and it is a time where the 32 NFL teams will look to add some pieces to improve both this year and in future years. The Indianapolis Colts currently have nine picks in the Draft, including at least one in each round, and therefore they should be active on Draft day. Who might they target? We're taking a look at a number of different prospects, and today we take a look at Boise State running back Jay Ajayi.
In his career at Boise State, the 6-0, 216 pound Ajayi rushed for 3,796 yards and 50 touchdowns on 678 carries, averaging 5.6 yards per carry, and caught 73 passes for 771 yards and five touchdowns. In 2014, Ajayi racked up 1,823 yards and 28 touchdowns rushing while also amassing 535 yards and four touchdowns receiving (becoming the first FBS player to ever record at least 1,800 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season), combining to record 2,358 total yards from scrimmage and 32 touchdowns last year - earning him third-team All-American honors from the Associated Press.
Ajayi is a very athletic running back who has a very high motor and will fight for extra yardage. He is a former soccer player and some of those skills have helped him on the football field as well, as he has good control of his footwork and possesses the elusiveness, speed, and burst that makes him a threat in the backfield. Furthermore, he is very good in the receiving game and can really help teams out in that area as well.
In 2011 he was arrested for stealing sweatpants from Wal-Mart and was nearly kicked off the team, and in addition to that obstacle he tore his ACL in 2011. The off-field issue is something that teams will want to look in to, though I don't think it's likely to be a deal-breaker for a team. As for the ACL injury, he has come back strongly from it, but he had a very intense workload in college, carrying the ball 678 times and adding another 73 touches with receptions, giving some concerns about wear and tear. Finally, he has had some fumbling issues that need to be worked on.
Big Board Rankings
NFL.com - 39th overall, number 3 running back
CBSSports.com - 41st overall, number 3 running back
Mocking the Draft - number 3 running back
Mock Draft Predictions
Josh Wilson's most recent mock draft: not selected in the first round
How Would He Help the Colts?
It won't be a surprise whatsoever to see the Colts target a running back in the upcoming draft, as they will be looking for a long-term option to play behind and develop behind Frank Gore, the free agent veteran the team signed this offseason. Because of the Gore signing, however, it's unlikely that the Colts will spend a first round pick on the running back position, and that will likely enable them to spend the first round pick on the defensive side of the football where there's a more immediate and pressing need.
In the second or third rounds, though, it would make a lot of sense to see the Colts go after a running back in this very deep class, and Jay Ajayi could be one such option. He could provide the change of pace back immediately behind Gore and then be the hopeful long-term starter once the team moves on from the veteran. Ajayi is likely to be taken in the second round of the draft and therefore its uncertain whether or not he will actually be available when the Colts are on the clock in the second round, but if he is there then it might be an intriguing and good selection for the Colts.
I think that Jay Ajayi is an underrated talent in this year's draft class (even though he's ranked as one of the top backs by most draft analysts) and could go on to have a good NFL career, and his versatility in providing help both in the run and pass game will be valuable to a team. If the Colts were to use their second round pick on Ajayi I wouldn't complain at all, but I think it's much more likely that the running back will be gone before the Colts' 61st overall pick rolls around.