The Buccaneers were expected to address the running back position early in the 2017 NFL Draft. Instead, it appears Doug Martin will remain on the team while Jeremy McNichols will step in as a role player.
With pick 162 overall in the NFL draft the Buccaneers may have found a running back who can contribute right away especially with Doug Martin missing the first three games. Now, he is not one of the names linked to the Buccaneers in the weeks up the draft – like Dalvin Cook, Marlon Mack, Samaje Perine, Kareem Hunt, D’onta Foreman, Alvin Kamara, or Joe Mixon – but instead it was running back Jeremy McNichols out of Boise State.
McNichols is a solid running back and one of the top fifteen running back prospects in this year’s draft. Sitting behind Jay Ajayi for the first year of his college career before being handed the reigns to the running game at Boise State, of course the same college as current Bucs running back Doug Martin.
More from Bucs Draft
- The Athletic’s early NFL Mock Draft has the Bucs taking a Top 5 QB in 2024
- Bucs front office reveals one thing the team missed during NFL Draft
- Peter King explains simple reason why Bucs passed on drafting Will Levis
- Mel Kiper Jr. hands out his official Buccaneers draft grade
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers undrafted free agents tracker 2023
As a two year starter at Boise St., McNichols had 554 carries for 3,046 yards and 44 touchdowns (over 20 each season), 88 receptions for 934 yards and 10 touchdowns. At 5’8” 214 pounds he runs low to the ground and has great vision but is not super elusive, but is obviously a great receiver out of the back field and will be heavily involved in pass game for the Bucs. General Manager Jason Licht had this to say about him during his post draft press conference;
"“We think he’s obviously a very good receiver if you look at his stats. But on film he has excellent hands, rare hands. He’s a really good pass protector. He is one of the best pass protectors in the draft from that position. He’s a very well-rounded guy, runs well, he’s got three-down value.”"
McNichols will certainly have a role while Doug Martin is suspended for the first three games of the season, and depending how he plays his role could continue to grow even after Martin returns. Basically being a combination of Martin and Charles Sims with similar size to Martin (5’9” 214 to 5’9” 223) and similar combine numbers to Sims (4.49 for McNichols to 4.48 for Sims forty, 35.5 vert to 37.5, and 121” to 126” broad), and maybe being an even better receiver then Sims. I think he will have a large role early when Martin is suspended and will likely beat out Peyton Barber as the 4th running back. In the last few season Martin and Sims have not been able to stay healthy so we may see McNichols play a lot more then we originally expected possibly being the number two running back behind Jacquizz Rodgers all season long.
Now you tell me what role that you think Jeremy McNichols will play this season; starter, quality backup, third string, beats out Barber as fourth string or member of the practice squad?