British running back Jay Ajayi enters the NFL with a point to prove after he plummeted during last week’s Draft before being selected by the Miami Dolphins in the fifth round on Saturday night.
The Boise State star was tabbed as a potential second or third round selection but concerns over an old knee injury saw many teams shy away and he was the 14th running back taken in the process to grab the best young players college football has to offer.
Ajayi, who grew up in London and Essex before moving to America when he was seven years old, said:
“I did think I was going to go earlier, so I was definitely disappointed. At the same time, I can only control what I can control. I know right now, at this very moment, that I’m extremely healthy and ready to go to camp and ready to contribute right away.
“I am excited that the Dolphins took a chance on me. I’m ready to prove all the people wrong and prove the Dolphins right.”
Ajayi has major cartilage issues in his right knee, according to reports out of the United States, with ESPN’s Adam Schefter declaring it a “bone-on-bone” situation. But the player himself is convinced he can be a solid contributor in the NFL and the fit with the Dolphins is certainly a good one.
Ajayi is a power back who has been compared to the likes of Marshawn Lynch and his physical style will fit well with 1,000-yard rusher Lamar Miller, who is more of an explosive home run hitter.
The Arsenal-loving Ajayi is a proven performer at the college level, carrying 678 times for 3,796 yards and scoring 50 touchdowns during an illustrious career at Boise State.
Dolphins assistant general manager Eric Stokes said:
“It’s a player that we rate highly on our board. Obviously from a medical standpoint, we’ve done a lot of work. Our doctors, they all do an excellent job. We were very comfortable from that standpoint. This kind of talent, to be there where he was, it was a perfect fit.”
Ajayi will now return to London with the Dolphins on October 4 to take on the New York Jets in regular season action at Wembley Stadium.
On a recent visit to London ahead of the NFL Draft, Ajayi told BritViewNFL.com:
“It would be a dream come true to play an NFL game at Wembley Stadium because it is such an iconic sporting venue and is renowned for being the home of English soccer.”
Despite a rough weekend in the NFL Draft, Ajayi will see his dream come true when he trots out at Wembley Stadium with the Dolphins in Week 4 of the 2015 campaign.