The Buccaneers used a fifth round pick on Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols. Once healthy, McNichols may add a new level to the running back position.
I’ve made it no secret I was extremely unhappy with the way the Buccaneers went about addressing the running back position during the draft. That said, there is no reason to doubt Jason Licht’s process or plan for this football team. Part of that plan was to bring in Boise State Bronco Jeremy McNichols in the fifth round to help bolster this running back corps.
Although it doesn’t appear McNichols is the kind of back that is going to replace Doug Martin this season, he is the kind of back that creates a new kind of threat in the backfield. See, McNichols is what the Bucs thought Charles Sims was going to be.
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McNichols can run between the tackles, make elusive breaks to the outside, and be a pass catching threat at the running back position. That’s not exactly something the Bucs have had in their arsenal recently. When Martin is healthy he’s a darn good runner but leaves much to be desired as a pass catcher. Sims is the opposite as he proved last season he couldn’t run between the tackles if his life depended on it. McNichols may just develop into the total package.
He’s still a developmental guy but his background as a receiver is extremely beneficial in a rotational role in Koetter’s offense. With Martin in the backfield it’s not likely he will go out for a pass. With Sims, it’s likely going to be a passing play. McNichols on the other hand? He’s going to keep defenses guessing.
McNichols spoke to the media about how transitioning from receiver presented its challenges but also provide an advantage;
"“It was difficult at first, just the physical aspect. You’re getting hit more and it’s more physical at running back than receiver. But I think me playing receiver really helped me to transition to running back, just because I feel like I can line up anywhere on the field and have an impact.”"
McNichols expects to be ready to go by training camp and it will be exciting to watch him get to work. There is going to be an interesting running back battle unfolding in Buccaneers training camp.