Jay Ajayi running back solution for Atlanta Falcons?


Is Jay Ajayi an ideal fit for the Atlanta Falcons? The Falcons are looking to improve their running game that ranked 24th in the NFL last season.

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This year’s draft features a deep class of running backs, and Ajayi is expected to be drafted in the second or third round.

Could he be on the Falcons’ radar?

With Todd Gurley and Melvin Gordon stealing the headlines, and rightfully so, Ajayi has slipped under the radar and could present great value for the Falcons.

According to Sports Reference, in three seasons with Boise State, he rushed 678 times for 3,796 yards and 50 touchdowns.

He can also contribute in the passing game: Ajayi caught 73 passes for 771 yards and five touchdowns.

Walter Cherepinsky of WalterFootball.com ranks Ajayi third among running backs. He wrote:

"“Ajayi was excellent for Boise State during the 2014 season. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry for 1,689 yards with 25 touchdowns. Through the air, the redshirt junior had 45 receptions for 536 yards and four touchdowns.Ajayi has the speed to break off yards in chunks, while also being athletic and tough. He can pick up yards after contact, but his biggest flaw is ball security. Ajayi puts the ball on the ground too often. That plagued him in 2013 and could be seen again in 2014, although he improved his ability to avoid fumbles.”"

Ajayi has the potential to become a workhorse back for the Falcons, and would be a great compliment to Devonta Freeman in the backfield.

Dec 31, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) runs the ball against the Arizona Wildcats during the third quarter of the 2014 Fiesta Bowl at Phoenix Stadium. The Broncos won 38-30. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

With Steven Jackson and Jacquizz Rodgers no longer in Atlanta, the Falcons would boast youth at the position, and a lot of raw talent.

Lance Zierlein of NFL.com writes that Ajayi has ‘good size and great feet’; the latter due to his soccer background. Zierlein added:

"“Ajayi’s running style and body type are very similar to LeShoure’s coming out of college, but LeShoure didn’t have the football character to make it in the league. Ajayi features an improving stiff arm and physicality that has become his calling card. Ajayi has the ability to play all three downs while mashing in short yardage and near the goal line. Scouts have been quietly circling Ajayi as a second-tier running back who offers good value on the second day of the draft.”"

The Falcons will have options at running back in the draft due to such a deep class.

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Gurley and Gordon could go as early as the first-round, but will likely be gone at the top of the second. Duke Johnson, Ameer Abdullah and T.J. Yeldon are among a number of talented prospects who could be available in the second or third rounds.

In another year, Ajayi could be picked up earlier. With such a talented pool of running backs this year, he could slip into the third-round.

If he is available for the Falcons at the top of the third, he could be an absolute steal.

With the young duo of Ajayi and Freeman joining a talented offense in the backfield, the future could be bright at running back for the Falcons.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: Schedule could help 2015 playoff push

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