Position: Running back
Weight: 214 pounds
School: Boise State Broncos
Combine Performance Data
40-yard dash: 4.49 seconds
Vertical jump: 35.5 inches
Broad jump: 10 feet, 1 inch
Three-cone drill: 6.93 seconds (fourth among running backs)
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds (tied for fifth among running backs)
Jeremy McNichols 2017 NFL Draft Profile
There are a tandem of former Boise State running backs making a name for themselves in the NFL that Jeremy McNichols hopes to emulate. Doug Martin burst onto the scene with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012, shattering the franchise’s rookie record with 1,454 rushing yards. And last year was a breakout campaign for Jay Ajayi in his second year with the Miami Dolphins. He finished with 1,272 yards on the ground and became the fourth player in NFL history to rush for 200+ yards in consecutive games.
McNichols arrived in Boise as a relatively unheralded three-star recruit whose only Power Five offer came from Utah. As a true freshman, he found himself behind Ajayi on the depth chart and contributed just 159 yards rushing. But with Ajayi declaring for the draft at season’s end, McNichols knew he needed to step up the following year. He did that and then some for the remainder of his time with the Broncos.
His sophomore campaign saw McNichols run for 1,330 yards while adding 20 touchdowns. A year later, the Long Beach, CA native was one of six players in the nation to finish with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. His 27 combined touchdowns (23 rushing, four receiving) as a junior was the second best mark in FBS. McNichols led the conference in rushing touchdowns and made the all-Mountain West second team in both seasons.
- fantastic downhill runner with solid pad level;
- sees the field in front of him and anticipates where the space is;
- constantly churns feet making him tough to bring down with arm tackles;
- clicks into overdrive if he isn’t bottled up at the line of scrimmage;
- tape and Combine data suggest above average lateral shiftiness;
- versatile pass-catcher with reliable hands;
- over 1,000 receiving yards and 11 touchdown receptions in college;
- lined up in a variety of pro-style I-formation sets with the quarterback behind center;
- able, willing and effective blocker in pass protection;
- durable player who remained healthy despite fourth highest workload in nation.
- averaged just 2.1 yards after contact in college;
- more laterally twitchy than purely fast in a straight line;
- tends to make panic runs to the sidelines if gaps close in between tackles;
- dealt with fumbling issues over both seasons as primary running back;
- needs to add lower body strength to be an effective power runner at next level;
- too reliant on blocking pass rushers low.
NFL Comparison: Robert Turbin
Teams With Need at Position: Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projection: Late third to early fourth round
In his two seasons as Boise State’s feature back, McNichols wowed with his ability to do just about everything required of him. Not only did he average over 1,500 yards on the ground and 21.5 rushing touchdowns, he also made big plays as a receiver and proved reliable protecting the quarterback. That said, his overall pass protection needs work and teams will have concerns as to whether he can consistently get yardage after initial contact.
Nevertheless, his skill set suggests McNichols has what it takes to become a versatile, three down back at the next level. Though he’ll likely need to wait his turn to feature at the next level, the potential is there for him to eventually become a starter. For a team needing depth at the position, McNichols is a safe middle round option in this year’s draft.