Jay Ajayi has exceeded expectations so far this season while illustrating why he was one of the top back’s coming out of college two years ago, however he has not proven he has the durability to be the workhorse over a full 16 game schedule yet. Who does Miami turn to in case of emergency to help carry the load?
Although Miami’s depth chart has 3rd year back Damien Williams listed as the backup, another back on the roster offers more upside and perhaps more game breaking ability. Kenyan Drake, the Dolphins 3rd round selection in this year’s draft has an explosive skill set, one that led Mike Tannenbaum and Chris Grier to make him the third back taken in this year’s draft.
Although Damien Williams has been solid for Miami this season, contributing 5 touchdowns thus far, he has never been a consistent runner. This season he is averaging his career best 4.1 yards per carry on just 23 attempts, but his specialty comes in the passing game where he thrives. With over 12 yards per catch and two receiving scores he has shown his dependability in the passing game.
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However he is not who Adam Gase should turn to in case the J-Train goes down. Kenyan Drake is averaging 4.6 yards per carry on just 6 less attempts than Williams with one score as well. Although he is not as big of a threat in the passing game (averaging only 5.6 yards per reception), his physicality when running the ball suits Miami’s offensive identity much more. He also showcased his mix of both power and speed in his days at Alabama, and more recently, against the Jets.
Now it is important to note, neither Williams or Drake really compare to how excellent Ajayi has been. The second year back is averaging 5.6 yards per attempt, production Miami has not seen from a back in recent years. In fact, Dolphins great Ricky Williams’ highest average was 4.8 yards per carry and this was back in 2002.
As fans we all hope to keep riding Jay Ajayi and see how his game grows and develops with more experience, however this is the NFL and injuries are a part of the game. If something happens to Ajayi the Dolphins should elevate rookie Kenyan Drake while keeping Damien Williams in his current role as the secondary back. What do you guys think? What should the Phins do behind Jay Ajayi? Let us know in the comments below.