STRENGTHS: Workable body type with adequate upper- and lower-body bulk. Quick-footed and nimble to control his acceleration with burst and wheels to finish runs. Explosive cuts with springs in his legs to launch off his plant foot and get upfield with forward momentum. Athletic lateral jump cuts to escape trouble. Limber and flexible body type with rubber joints to be slippery at the tackle point.
Runs low and close to the ground with balance and proper pad level to work off contact. Refuses to go down easy and uses every ounce of power to push forward. Improved vision to cut-and-go with quick eyes to read blocks and trust the play design. Good patience to allow the action to develop and doesn't run hesitant.
Athletic pass catcher to make errant throws look like routine catches with soft hands, collecting himself well after the grab to turn downfield. Experienced lining up out wide and running routes. Tough, hungry and competitive, attacking the teeth of defenses and popping up after big hits.
Understands situations and knows where the sticks are. High-effort player and carries himself with a chip on his shoulder, playing motivated to prove people wrong and preparing the same way.
Highly productive career, including a record-breaking junior season in 2014, becoming the first player in FBS history to rush for 1,800-plus yards and collect 500-plus receiving yards.
WEAKNESSES: Some teams reportedly removed Ajayi from their draft boards over concerns about the long-term durability of the right knee that required surgery in 2011. Also dealt with other minor injuries.
Has added bulk to his frame and runs hard, but lacks ideal power to consistently run through arm tackles as an inside runner. Needs to break more tackles and not allow ankle biters to bring him down. Relies too much on bouncing runs outside and will get himself in trouble trying to string runs out.
Plays too fast at times and needs to better avoid bodies in tight spaces. Good, but not great, speed and can be caught from behind. Prefers to run away from contact at times and will lose yardage. Needs to improve his ball security with 12 career fumbles (seven lost). Appears to wear down late in games, taking a lot of hits in Boise State's offense with a heavy volume of touches the past two seasons. Needs work in pass protection with his technique and strength to sustain both lacking.
Some past character issues that need vetted, including an Oct. 2011 arrest for stealing sweatpants from a Wal-Mart near campus (plead guilty to misdemeanor, served five days in jail and eight hours of classes) -- banned from 2011 bowl game, suspended for the 2012 season opener and was forced to work his way back into the good graces of the coaches. Soccer was his first love and he considered going that direction after high school to play overseas.
COMPARES TO: Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans -- Like the first running back drafted in the 2014 class, Ajayi has a balanced skill-set as a ballcarrier and receiver with the ability to make defenders miss and create his own yardage.
Ajayi was a late bloomer on the football field and Boise State ended up finding a gem early in the recruiting process.
Ajayi was born in London, England to Nigerian parents and moved to the United States in 2000. He played soccer growing up, but starting playing football once his family moved to Texas and developed into a worthy recruit on the football field.
He arrived at Boise in 2011 and didn't redshirt immediately, but within a week span in October, he was arrested for stealing and tore the ACL in his right knee, putting him in the coaches' doghouse and redshirting.
Ajayi was the backup behind D.J. Harper as a redshirt freshman in 2012 and the coaches made him earn the full-time starting job in 2013, something he did within the first few games of his sophomore season. He finished the 2013 season with 1,425 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, earning All-MWC first-team honors.
Ajayi had his best season in 2014 as a junior with school records for rushing yards (1,823), carries (347), all-purpose yardage (2,358), rushing touchdowns (28) and 100-yard rushing performances (10).
He earned All-MWC honors and some All-American nods for his record-breaking season, finishing with a NCAA-high 397 total touches on the season.
Ajayi showed some immature tendencies as a "follower" when he first arrived at Boise and was almost dismissed, spending over a year in the coaches' doghouse, but to his credit worked hard off the field and made the most of his second chance.
Ajayi has unreal balance to keep his feet with dynamic and explosive qualities needed for the next level to be dangerous any time he touches the ball. He refuses to go down with his low center of gravity to shoo off contact and keep motoring for chunk plays, accelerating to top speed in a flash.
Ajayi is effective in the screen game with good focus as a pass catcher to make adjustments and secure with his hands, but needs to do a better job with his ball security to hold onto the football. His eye-opening production the past two seasons as a starter is impressive and he possesses an athletic and intuitive skill set to be an effective player in the NFL with starter-quality talent.