Dan Campbell: Miller is still top RB, but Ajayi is ‘up-and-coming’
When the Miami Dolphins selected running back Jay Ajayi in the fifth round of the draft in May, he likely wasn't seen as Lamar Miller's immediate replacement. A preseason injury for the rookie delayed his start in the NFL, but in his first two games as a pro, he's showed a ton of potential.
Over the past two weeks, Ajayi has rushed for 89 yards on just 11 attempts — giving him an incredible 8.1 yards per carry average. He's had runs of 23 and 24 yards in each game respectively, showing a great burst and ability to break tackles in the open field.
He's provided a spark to the running game, but Dan Campbell won't be making a change at the top of the depth chart just yet.
“Ajayi is a young guy,” Campbell said via the Andrew Abramson of the Palm Beach Post. “He’s still up-and-coming. He’s gotten better, but he still needs a lot of reps and overall from protection to blitz pick-ups, all those different things, to route running. Not that he can’t do it, but right now we have a lot of faith in Lamar Miller. But certainly we like the way Jay runs.”
It's hard for the coaching staff not to like how Ajayi runs. There's a reason why he was a highly-touted prospect out of Boise State before concerns about his knee arose. He's a talented back who runs extremely hard but can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
Right now, he's a great compliment to Miller. Following the season, though, he could conceivably be his replacement. Miller is set to become a free agent in the offseason, which means the Dolphins may choose to go with Ajayi as their No. 1 back, with him being a younger, cheaper option. For now, they'll team up to give the Dolphins a dynamic duo.