Dayes did not get the headlines like other ACC backs like Dalvin Cook and James Conner, but he's been a valued all-around offensive threat for the Wolfpack throughout his career. Going from Fort Lauderdale to Raleigh, Dayes earned carries (63 for 252 yards, four TD) and was used as a receiver (10-173, TD) as a true freshman. In 2014, he was one of just three players in the FBS with at least 300 yards rushing (573), receiving (32-321, 5 TD) and on kick returns (384) despite starting just two games. Dayes was breaking out on the national scene in 2015, and was leading the FBS with 12 rushing touchdowns through nine games, but suffered a season-ending turf toe injury (finished with 865 rushing yards, 24-172 receiving). His 2016 season was his best, as he covered 1,166 yards on the ground with 10 scores, while also catching 32 passes for 267 yards on his way to second-team All-ACC honors.
Runs with patience and presses line of scrimmage to set up his cuts. Outstanding peripheral vision with ability to find back-side cuts. Sees to second level. Operates with controlled, choppy feet in tight quarters for maximum body control. Subtle wiggle on second and third level to create more yardage. Able to gear down and make the sharp, downhill cuts on stretch plays. Solid pass-catching option.
Too small to be an every-down back. Runs with some hip tightness. Jump cuts and lateral escapability are below average. Doesn't accelerate into contact and is too easily tripped by arm tackles. Missing necessary strength in lower body to break tackles and create through power. Averaged just 1.8 yards after initial contact over last two seasons. Lacks long speed to finish the breakaway run.
Sources Tell Us
"Dime-a-dozen running back. I'm not slamming him because those guys play in the league but he needs to find the right fit. He reminds me of Ronnie Hillman, but slower." -- Regional scout for AFC team
Tempo-based, one-cut running back with good vision but an inability to break tackles and run with power. Best on outside zone plays with an opportunity to find back-side cuts, but when he has to run between the tackles, he's missing an aggressive burst. Potentially a committee running back with some third-down value if he can tighten up his pass blocking.