When you think of Boise State running backs, guys like Doug Martin, Jay Ajayi and even Ian Johnson come to mind. Jeremy McNichols is the next to be produced out of that pipeline, and rightfully so deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as other previous tailbacks to come out of Boise.
Jeremy McNichols enjoyed tremendous production during his three years with the Broncos. He impressed the coaches so much that they revoked his redshirt status during the 6th game of his freshman year. He would finish his career with 3,205 rushing yards and contributed in the passing game as well with over 100 catches for 1,089 receiving yards. During his two years as the starter, McNichols was a TD machine – scoring 44 TDs on the ground during that span with at least 20 in each season.
Throughout the draft process, McNichols hasn’t been getting any love, but I’d say he definitely deserves a bit more recognition. Some will look at the production and size and just assume he’s just another one of those successful college running backs, but he’s a lot more than just that.
Jeremy McNichols is a faster Kenneth Dixon. pic.twitter.com/FGYt1MCRq6
— Fusue Vue (@lifesyourcup) March 15, 2017
Name: Jeremy McNichols
Size: 5’9”/214/31 1/2” Arm Length/10” Hands
School: Boise State
Comparison: J.J. Arrington (Retired/Arizona Cardinals)
Draft Grade: 4th Round
Combine: 40 time: 4.49 – Vertical Jump: 35.5” – Broad Jump: 121” – 3-Cone: 6.93 – 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.28
Positives: Physical, patient, slippery runner with a compact frame who gets low to the ground. Quick, short strides. Has to work harder than most due to size, but pulls it off. Tough and outplays his size. Absorbs heavy contact and stays upright. Runs with terrific balance. Uses hand to keep the run moving when falling forward. Excellent overall footwork. Fine change of direction skills. Weaves around like he’s remote controlled. Shifts body off plant foot like he’s performing a basketball crossover. Chips away at defenses with decent gains but can occasionally breakout the big run. Nimble around the line of scrimmage. Picks spots well with good vision and glides right through the hole. Better runner directly under center as opposed to shotgun formations. Extends and runs away with stiff arm. Finishes stiff arm – won’t disengage until he forces his opponent’s head in the dirt. Rarely brought down for a loss. Effective goal line weapon. Originally recruited as a wide receiver. Perhaps the best receiving back in the class – caught over 100 passes during his career. Big, soft, reliable hands and catches balls away from his body. Quick blow on cut blocks. Smooth lateral footwork to stick with man coming off the edge. Uber productive at Boise State. Age friendly prospect – doesn’t turn 22 until the end of the year. Durable, reliable player.
Negatives: Lacks game-breaking speed. Not the most explosive runner – doesn’t hit the outside with burst. Gives off the ankle-biter persona when blocking against bigger opponents. Height may not meet the threshold of some teams. 2nd effort will cost him at times. When fighting through tackles will twist body leaving the ball prone to be punched out. 9 fumbles the past two seasons.
Outlook: Jeremy McNichols is an intriguing prospect who isn’t getting enough love at this point in the process with the more polarizing running back prospects overshadowing him. He checks a lot of boxes when you look at his production, durability and overall ability on the field. However, his size may scare some teams away. Despite that, McNichols makes up for his “height deficiency” with effort and grit. He meshes patience, balance and vision all in one. His receiving ability will be coveted early on day 3. Kareem Hunt has been getting a lot of hype, and while he’s a talented back, if a team misses out on him in the 3rd round, McNichols won’t be a bad consolation prize in the 4th-5th round as they offer similar skillsets, albeit different styles. While his athletic traits won’t standout and he lacks that one elite trait as a runner, he’s a well-rounded, solid back. McNichols will be a tremendous complimentary back at the next level and can have a long career in the NFL.