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Eagles trade draft pick for Jay Ajayi: Grade the deal

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NFL: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles made a big splash prior to the NFL trade deadline by acquiring Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi in exchange for a 2018 fourth-round draft pick (more details here).

Now that there’s been time to react to the big deal, it’s time to put it to a vote: how you would grade this trade? Here’s a look at some of the positives and negatives.

POSITIVES

  • As I said all along, running back was a need for the Eagles. LeGarrette Blount has done some nice things this season; he ranks 11th in rushing yards and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. But there are times when he’s not so effective. For example, he only has 77 yards on 30 carries over the last two weeks. He’s also only averaging 12.5 carries per game so it’s not like the 30-year-old is a total workhorse at this stage of his career.
  • Now opposing defenses will have to deal with both Ajayi AND Blount. Those are two physically punishing rushers right there. Good luck tackling these dudes all game long.
  • Ajayi’s presence means the Eagles are counting on Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner less. Smallwood is injury-prone and hasn’t been very effective this year. Clement gives great effort but his limitations are apparent. Barner ideally shouldn’t be seeing offensive playing time.
  • Ajayi is only 24 years old and he’s signed cheap through 2018. The Eagles made a splash without significantly impacting their limited cap space.
  • Blount is going to be a free agent after this season. He turns 31 in December so paying him could be tricky. Now the Eagles have an in-house replacement for him if/when this year is over.
  • Ajayi potentially improves the Eagles’ pass protection from the RB position.
  • The Eagles had three fourth-round picks so it wasn’t super difficult to give one up.
  • The Eagles are serious about making a Super Bowl run this year. Howie Roseman isn’t content with settling. That’s nice to see.

NEGATIVES

  • The Dolphins were willing to part with a talented player for a reason. There are concerns about Ajayi’s attitude and work ethic.
  • There are also concerns about Ajayi’s knees.
  • One has to wonder how the Ajayi addition will impact the Eagles locker room. Will Blount handle this move well? Is messing with the team’s chemistry a good idea after getting off to a 7-1 start?
  • Ajayi is only averaging 3.4 yards per carry this season, which ranks 43rd out of 49 running backs. That’s not entirely his fault; it’s not like he’s had great blocking. Still, there are concerns about Ajayi’s tendency to try and make a big play at the risk of getting tackled for a loss or no gain.
  • Ajayi isn’t a huge factor as a receiver. He has 48 catches in 31 career games.
  • Even though the Eagles had three fourth rounders, they don’t have a Day 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. So now they’re only down to: a first, two fourths, two fifths, and a sixth.

My grade for this trade is an A- rating.

Great job my Roseman to be aggressive and take a chance on a talented player like Ajayi. Not unlike Blount, the guy is just really fun to watch. He runs hard and he’s fast. He can make big plays on the ground. He ran for over 200 yards in three games last season (back-to-back in one instance). That’s crazy.

The Eagles offense already dangerous. They own the NFL’s longest streak of consecutive 25+ point games. Now Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz have another weapon to work with.

There are some legitimate concerns with this deal, as I noted in the “negatives” section above. Overall, though, I think this is a trade worth making. Spending a fourth on Ajayi isn’t a major risk.

How about you? Grade the trade by voting in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it).

Poll

Grade the Eagles’ decision to trade a draft pick for Jay Ajayi

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    A
    (5824 votes)
  • 30%
    B
    (2685 votes)
  • 3%
    C
    (319 votes)
  • 0%
    D
    (49 votes)
  • 0%
    F
    (65 votes)
8942 votes total Vote Now