Former Boise State running back Jay Ajayi is quickly becoming well worth his surprising fifth-round selection in last year’s NFL Draft.
Ajayi, who was solid as a backup last season with Miami Dolphins, has emerged as the front-runner to be the team’s No. 1 back this fall.
“(Ajayi’s) been one of those guys he’s been here every day, he’s done everything right,” Dolphins coach Adam Gase told 560 WQAM radio in Miami. “You can tell he’s looking to improve. He doesn’t say much, just keeps working. The rest of that group has done a good job to try and keep up with him, but obviously he’s kind of separated himself from that group as far as the consistency of what he does day in and day out.”
After missing the first eight weeks of his rookie campaign while on injured reserve in 2015, he had 49 carries for 187 yards and a touchdown, adding seven receptions for 90 yards. The 149th pick of the draft, Ajayi was the team’s second-leading rusher behind Lamar Miller, who signed with the Houston Texans in the offseason. Miami added a few free agents, but none of starting caliber, and drafted Alabama’s Kenyan Drake in the second round last month.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Idaho Statesman
“He knows he’s the starter,” Gase said of Ajayi.
Last week, Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin spoke to the New York Giants’ website about two of the team’s new additions: former Bronco defensive backs Darian Thompson and Donte Deayon.
Thompson, a third-round pick, impressed quickly. ESPN suggested he could be an immediate starter at safety, quoting defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo as saying “Thompson, I thought, was barking things out. That’s the first thing I look for in a safety. Will you be loud? Are you not afraid to make a mistake? I think that’s huge, and that stuck out a little bit. We’ve got a long way to go, though.”
The New York Daily News said Deayon could have a shot to make the roster as an undrafted free agent.
Former Boise State receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes, who signed with Toronto Argonauts of the CFL, also made an early impression.
Armand Nance, who started 35 games the last three seasons for the Broncos, is playing in the Indoor Football League with the Nebraska Danger. Check out this fumble recovery he made on the kickoff (!) team.
BOISE STATE BRONCOS ON NFL ROSTERS
Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins
Ryan Clady, OT, Jets
Kamalei Correa, LB, Ravens
Tyrone Crawford, DL, Cowboys
Donte Deayon, CB, Giants
Tyler Gray, LB, Dolphins
Marcus Henry, C, Saints
George Iloka, S, Bengals
DeMarcus Lawrence, DE, Cowboys
Charles Leno, OT, Bears
Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers
Shea McClellin, LB, Patriots
Kellen Moore, QB, Cowboys
Rees Odhiambo, OG, Seahawks
Matt Paradis, C, Broncos
Blake Renaud, FB, Vikings
Orlando Scandrick, CB, Cowboys
Jamar Taylor, CB, Browns
Darian Thompson, S, Giants
Kyle Wilson, CB, Saints
Kelsey Young, RB, Redskins