Ajayi, whose nickname of “J-Train” took off last year, became the first Dolphins player revealed this year on the list, compiled through a survey of players around the league.
“What jumps off the screen is just his effort,” said 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk. “This guy just runs through tackles. He’s just a nonstop locomotive train.”
Ajayi followed Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins, who came in at number 70.
Ajayi was asked by NFL Network where he thought he would end up on the list.
“Forty or 30 would be reasonable for me,” Ajayi said. “I’m definitely shooting for that No. 1 spot for sure.”
In his second NFL season after being a fifth-round pick in 2015, Ajayi rushed for 1,272 yards, the third-highest total in Dolphins history. He also joined O.J. Simpson, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams as the only players in NFL history to rush for 200 or more yards in consecutive games. Ajayi had a third 200-yard rushing performance, making him the first NFL running back since 2005 to have three 200-yard games in one season.
“I don’t know his damn name,” said Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee, “but everybody is scared to touch him.”
The Dolphins have had three players on the Top 100 list each of the past three years. Defensive tackle
NFL Network is unveiling the Top 100 over a 10-week period every Monday at 8 p.m. ET, with the players ranked from 1 to 10 players revealed July 3.
Following each weekly episode, The “Top 100 Players of 2017 Reactions” show airs live from the NFL Network studios at 10 p.m. ET. Featuring a rotation of other NFL Network analysts, the 30-minute show provides instant reaction to players unveiled — and not unveiled — on the latest episode. NFL players who have been voted onto the top 100 also will join the Reactions show throughout the series. Additionally, viewers can interact with the show on social media using #NFLTop100.