Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
(percentile rank among all RBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.49 (70th)
Vertical: 35.5 inches (64th)
Broad: 121 inches (73rd)
3-cone: 6.93 seconds (67th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.28 seconds (42nd)
You can poke a hole or 2 in McNichols’ game, but you can’t point to a lack of production.
In 2015, he sat 11th in the country with 1,886 all-purpose yards. That number jumped to a massive 2,255 in 2016. Only 5 RBs tallied more rushing yardage, while only 2 backs bested his 23 TDs.
Now, the 21-year-old didn’t face the toughest competition. He faced just 3 units ranked top-20 in YPC allowed. On a sample of 61 carries, he posted 4.5 per rush vs. those opponents — nearly a full yard below his season-long average.
Of course, Boise State has produced quality RBs in recent years (Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi). So competition isn't a major knock on McNichols.
Perhaps most strikingly, McNichols handled some massive workloads — despite average size. Last year, he reached 30 carries 4 times, including 1 game with 40. Amazingly, he did so while playing through a torn labrum in his shoulder.
McNichols underwent surgery shortly after the Combine. At Boise State’s Pro Day, he said he’s dealt with the shoulder injury for a year and a half. His goal — and it’s realistic — is to be "100%" by July.
Productivity and toughness provide a sturdy foundation. But let’s see what the tape turns up.
Games Watched - UNLV, Washington State., Utah State, Wyoming
They say first impressions are everything. So this initial run made me a bit uneasy …
I figured I’d see more struggles on inside runs going forward. Ultimately, McNichols showed solid between-the-tackles ability for a RB of his size, typically running low to the ground and absorbing contact well. Below, he conquers a stacked box on a 3rd and short ...
Here's a nod to his balance ......and change-of-direction skills. (Sure, the defense over-pursued, but it's still a nice display of foot speed and vision.)
As a receiver, McNichols presents a reliable sets of hands. Per Pro Football Focus, he dropped just 2 of 107 catchable targets during his college career. Here we see an ability to elude defenders as a WR...In this final clip, McNichols takes advantage of blown coverage. But you can tell how natural he is catching the ball downfield...
McNichols boasts a well-rounded game that’ll give him an early shot at playing time.
For fantasy purposes, his 88 catches over the past 2 years are especially noteworthy. Mix in reliable hands, and it’s easy to see PPR contributions. McNichols remains a work in progress as a pass protector, although that’s nothing new for rookies.
He’s also a red flag given his fumble rate of 74.9. McNichols has excellent hand size (10 inches), so it’s a matter of focus, strength and execution going forward.
Overall, the Long Beach native profiles as a mid-round NFL draft pick and a top-6 rookie RB for dynasty.