Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines were good for the Colts in 2018, but signing Jay Ajayi in free agency could take Indy’s rushing attack to the next level.
Head coach Frank Reich led the Colts to be one of the most surprising teams in the NFL last season. Much of their success was built on the backs of their physical offensive line. If Indianapolis is able to sign Jay Ajayi in free agency, their ground game is going to become even more punishing in 2019.
According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, Ajayi will travel to Indianapolis next week to visit with the Colts and undergo a physical. That doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll sign a deal while he’s there, but things do seem to be trending in that direction. It’s hard to imagine a running back better suited to run behind the Colts offensive line than Ajayi.
The Eagles featured Ajayi heavily during his time in Philadelphia before he missed the majority of last season with a torn ACL. The injury seems to have caused many fans to forget just how good he was for Philadelphia down the stretch in 2017. He ran for 408 yards on just 70 carries after coming over in a trade from Miami. Ajayi was a big factor in the Eagles run to a Super Bowl title.
Lining him up behind mashers like Anthony Castonzo and Quenton Nelson would be a nightmare for Colts’ opponents. Andrew Luck can still make all the throws, but ever since Reich took over the team the focus of the offense has shifted steadily towards winning in the trenches. Being able to deploy Ajayi like a battering ram would force opponents to move their safeties close to the line of scrimmage. That could open up a lot of room for Luck to beat opposing secondaries over the top.
The Colts’ interest in Ajayi shouldn’t be construed as a criticism of either Mack or Hines. Both guys did a really good job for the team last season. In the event that Indianapolis can’t come to terms with Ajayi, Reich and the team’s front office will be content to stand pat with last year’s duo.
That doesn’t mean the team shouldn’t work hard to convince Ajayi to call Indianapolis home. If the Colts really want to continue their climb towards a Super Bowl in 2019, they can’t pass up the opportunity to improve at any position. Ajayi is the sort of player who can help transform this offense from good to great.