There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for junior running back Jeremy McNichols, Boise State Broncos.
RB-Jeremy McNichols, Boise State 5’9” 212 lbs.
This junior back had a very successful college career scoring 44 touchdowns, rushing for over 3200 yards along with over a hundred catches for close to 1100 receiving yards. The Broncos have produced two successful NFL backs in the last five years with Doug Martin and Jay Ajayi, can McNichols make it three? Because I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the six games I reviewed of the junior playmaker: 2016 contests versus Baylor, UNLV, BYU, Wyoming, Utah State, and Washington State. Most of these videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. Here are my thoughts:
Cons: The runner does not always hit the hole hard; he looked hesitant at times waiting too long to make his first move. McNichols needs to find a crease so he has a tendency to break runs outside or just reverse his field which causes him to run more east and west when the back should be traveling more north and south. Yes, the former Bronco is much faster than the majority of the competition he faced in the Mountain West Conference, but that won’t be the case at the next level. He is more quick than fast, and without that second gear in the open field it will be difficult for him to outrun/outmaneuver more athletic defenders in the NFL. His legs are thin and he struggles with pass blocking (doesn’t anchor well or blindly dives for the legs of the incoming defender).I saw several plays where he was standing around when the ball was going the opposite direction which will not endear him to his coaches at the next level.
Pros: He has quick feet that allow him to start/stop with ease and has loose hips which enables him to quickly change directions. His cat-like balance along with stiff-arms, spins, hurdles, and jump cuts allow him to move through difficult terrain. McNichols has good vision that helps him read his blockers downfield and find the cutback lane that gets him into the open field. The former Bronco runs behind his pads, lowering his shoulders, takes what the defense gives him, and dives for extra yardage keeping his legs churning. As a receiver, the back has soft hands, gets out to the flats in a hurry or can line up wide. He is a slippery route runner who is quite effective running wheels or screens. McNichols tracks the ball well in the air and usually catches the ball in stride. There are times he dazzles with one-handed grabs.
Overall impressions: There is a lot to like about McNichols with his quick feet and soft hands, but without a second gear or NFL pass blocking skills, it will be difficult for him to make an impact at the next level. He looks like a second string back that might have an impact on a few games a season if he lands in the right situation. Fellow alumni Doug Martin has considerable more skills (albeit a drug problem as well), but will struggle to find a starting role too. Perhaps look for McNichols in the later rounds of your rookie draft and hold him on a taxi squad to see if NFL coaching will improve his skills.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.