You all know by now that Boise State's workhorse running back, Jay Ajayi, had to wait an extra, extra, extra long time to hear his name called by the Miami Dolphins—well into the fifth round, to be precise. It wasn't what Bronco fans or Ajayi had envisioned for his draft weekend, but at the end of the day, Ajayi is going to the league and will have every opportunity to gain playing time with the 'phins. As rough as Ajayi's draft experience was, his immediate future in the league has a bit more certainty than some of his Bronco draft classmates. Here's a full rundown of their landing spots and their odds of sticking with their prospective teams in free agency.
Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins
Ajayi's knee concerns are either fact or faked, but his draft stock to a very real hit with with ligament-gate 2015. Jay has a lot to prove to not just the Dolphins, but every team that repeatedly passed on the versatile back. ESPN's Christopher Harris is one believer that the Jay Train will gain steam in the NFL.
Matt Miller, WR, Denver Broncos
Miller likely would have been drafted had it not been for last season's injury-turned-surgery. Miller nearly left school with every receiving record of consequence, but his ankle had other plans. Still, Miller has the best chance of any FA signee to make a roster, in my humblest opinion. Miller has good size and great hands and I think his speed will only get better the further he gets from his surgery. Going to Denver was also a smart move as the Broncos don't return a ton of playmakers in the WR unit and drafted none to really rectify that. Couple that with a smart QB in Peyton Manning and I think Miller may be able to show himself a valuable asset in the Mile High City.
Grant Hedrick, QB, Denver Broncos
Hedrick was unable to procure a free agent deal, but did secure a mini camp tryout with the aforementioned Broncos. The Broncos did draft a QB in the seventh round, Northwestern's Trevor Siemian, but a knee injury may keep him out of camp—this could be Hedrick's slim window to turn some heads. Clearly the Broncos are pretty set for the immediate future with Peyton Manning still under center, but the elder Manning is in the twilight of his career and the Broncos would be wise to start re-stocking the cupboard. Zac Dysert and Brock Osweiler on current backups, but Hedrick's skill set might make him a intriguing prospect for the practice squad and from there, he could start climbing the ladder.
Blake Renaud, FB, Minnesota Vikings
Renaud was likely told that his linebacking wasn't going to get him to the league, so he made the decision to pull a Korey Hall (or Bryan Johnson, for that matter) and made the switch to fullback to entice scouts. The Vikings currently have one fullback on the roster—3rd year man Zac Line—but Renaud is already bigger than the SMU grad and well, you just never know. Free agent fullbacks aren't usually the rags to riches stories you wind up reading about, but Renaud is a hard worker and if he keeps his nose to the grindstone, may be able to carve out a spot on the roster.
Dan Goodale, K, Baltimore Ravens
Goodale also snagged a mini-camp tryout, but I think Goodale has a decent shot at making a roster...even if not in Baltimore. I'm not sure how many kickers NFL teams generally keep around, but Baltimore currently has just one listed—Justin Tucker. Tucker made 85% of his kicks a year ago, with a long of 55, and was perfect on PATs. Not exactly a shaky kicker that needs replacing, but Goodale has plenty of leg and has increased his accuracy over the last few seasons. It's not easy out there for kickers, but Goodale might just be able to secure an injury reserve spot at the very least. It'd be a nice comeuppance for the local product who had an up-and-down Bronco career.
Still waiting on word about Cleshawn Page, Bryan Douglas, Connor Peters, and Beau Martin. Would love for these guys to get some opportunities—either here or in the great white north.