Jay Ajayi going into Eagles camp as No. 1 RB option

Philadelphia Eagles running back Jay Ajayi expressed excitement in late May on potentially absorbing a lead role in the backfield.

Coach Doug Pederson confirmed on the team's final day of minicamp that Ajayi will have the opportunity and enter training camp atop the depth chart.

"Yeah, he's definitely going into camp as the No. 1 guy," Pederson told reporters on June 14, via the Eagles' official website. "It takes nothing away from what Corey Clement] did or what [Darren] Sproles has done here, Wendell [Smallwood], Pump [Donnel Pumphrey] is coming back, [Matt Jones. You've got guys that are going to compete in that role."

The Eagles utilized a three-back committee approach in 2017 with Ajayi, Clement and LeGarrette Blount, who signed with the Detroit Lions during free agency.

Ajayi joined the Eagles via trade from the Miami Dolphins in late October 2017, and totaled 408 yards rushing and a touchdown on 70 carries, averaging 5.8 yards per attempt, in seven games for Philadelphia.

"Came in last year and obviously proved to us that he can handle it," Pederson told reporters.

Ajayi isn't new to a workhorse role, as he produced 1,272 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on 260 attempts (4.9 yards per carry) for the Dolphins in 2016.

Nevertheless, the Eagles head coach also pointed out the offense will continue utilizing a backfield rotation depending on game situations.

"I don't think, though, that from a scheme standpoint it's going to change much with a rotating running back room like we had last year with LeGarrette, and Jay and Corey," Pederson told reporters. "I think there's a time and a place for that. Each game is a little bit different."

With a strong showing in training camp, Ajayi could very well enter the regular season as the Eagles' featured rusher.

But he will need to make the most of his touches when considering Pederson's stance of utilizing all the backfield weapons at the team's disposal.

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