On the morning of Halloween, just hours before NFL trade deadline, Howie Roseman struck fear into the eyes of every NFL team, by acquiring Pro Bowl RB Jay Ajayi in exchange for sending a 2018 4th rd pick to Miami. There is no debate that Ajayi is the real deal, after rushing for 1,272 yards and 8 TD’s in 2016. But how is Ajayi going to contribute to the Eagles season, joining the team halfway through the season?
Ajayi, measuring 6’0 and weighing over 220 lbs, is not only powerful, but lightning quick. He ran a 4.57 at the NFL combine and has shown his breakaway speed numerous times throughout his career.
Here, Ajayi dashes to the second level, breaks a tackle and blows past the safety to seal a win for the Dolphins in the final minute of the game.
Once again, Ajayi comes up clutch, this time in OT, by shedding arm tackles and fleeing those in pursuit to set up a game winning FG.
Now, back to the original question. How can the ‘Jay Train’ contribute to the Eagles, who are 4th in the NFL rushing. Ajayi has a trait no other Eagles RB has, the ability to be on the field no matter the down and distance. He can not only lower his shoulder and pound the ball upfield, but he can also quickly bounce it to the outside and get around the edge of the defense. He can catch the ball out of the backfield well, something the Eagles have missed ever since Darren Sproles was injured. And on top of that, he’s solid in pass-protection, which the Eagles cannot say about any running back on their roster.
Give Ajayi whatever name you want, 3 down back, Bellcow, workhorse, whatever. The bottom line is that he is among the NFL’s elite. Ajayi will not only change the look of the Eagles’ running back committee, he may change the look of the entire offense.