Name: Jeremy McNichols
School: Boise State
Position fit: Running back
Stats to know: Over the past two seasons, McNichols ranks third in receptions, fourth in receiving yards, and first in receiving touchdowns among draft-eligible running backs. He also has the third-lowest drop rate (4.9 percent) among the 55 players with at least 20 catchable targets.
What he does best:
- Keeps balance through contact.
- Can play bigger than his size, keeps feet moving to continue gaining yards after contact.
- Has significant experience in both zone and gap schemes, was effective in both but may fit better in the latter.
- Hits the backside cut quickly in the zone game.
- Workhorse who can handle a full load. Had 30-plus touches seven times in 25 games, including some games in the 40s.
- Can be a contributor in the passing game, utilized as a receiver often in college.
- Shows good hands, dropped just two of 107 catchable targets in three years.
- Can be quick to cut back on zone or away from intended point of attack on gap schemes at times. Ran behind a below-average line in 2016 may have caused him to not always trust his blocks.
- Jack of all trades, but possibly a master of none?
- Will need to improve in pass protection to maximize his playing time in passing situations.
Player comparison: Pierre Thomas
Thomas was a player who probably would not be described as an elite athlete or great at any one thing, but was a well-rounded player who was an effective runner for the Saints and a highly productive receiver out of the backfield. Like Thomas, McNichols is of similar build and holds his own in strength and yards after contact.
Bottom line: McNichols is coming off his best year as a runner, and did so behind blockers that were not nearly as effective as in 2015. His vision can be a bit sporadic at times but he should be an above-average runner at the next level. He’s physically capable of handling a large workload, but he might be most effective splitting carries to be able to get him more involved in the passing game, where he may make the most impact in the NFL.