Buccaneers: Predicting the role of Jeremy McNichols in 2017

BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 4: Running back Jeremy McNichols
BOISE, ID - NOVEMBER 4: Running back Jeremy McNichols /

How will Jeremy McNichols perform for the Buccaneers in 2017?

The Buccaneers waited a lot longer than any of us thought they would to add a running back during the draft. Most experts believed that the Bucs would have selected a running back by the end of day two at the latest. Instead, they kept the world waiting until round five, adding to the intrigue of how they may handle the Doug Martin situation. Well, we all know that Jason Licht likes to keep things interesting. Right, Roberto Aguayo?

That last quip was for a different discussion. Today we stick with the running back room. That fifth round selection was Jeremy McNichols out of Boise St., ironically the same school as Martin. Ari Ross of SI included McNichols as one of his players that teams will regret letting slide:

"Tampa Bay may have found its future starting running back in Round 5. A two-time All-Mountain West second-team selection, McNichols rushed for 3,205 yards and 44 touchdowns over three seasons. Many projected him to be taken somewhere between the third and sixth round, but once healthy, he’ll immediately compete with Doug Martin and Charles Sims for the starting job. Fellow Boise State alum Jay Ajayi spent last year proving the teams that passed on him wrong, and there’s a good chance McNichols does the same."

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Now that McNichols is here, let’s take a look at what is role might be in his rookie year. In order to do that, we must look back at his college statistics to see just what type of running back he is. Here are McNichols’ stats from his time at Boise St.

As you review these numbers, something will jump out. That “something” is valuable, and may remind you of a back that is already on the roster.

*2014Boise StateMWCFRRB9171599.411515510.31323149.82
*2015Boise StateMWCSORB1224013375.620514609.0629117976.226
2016Boise StateMWCJRRB1331417095.4233747412.8435121836.227
CareerBoise State57132055.644103108910.61167442946.45

Here is your two-way running back. McNichols can hurt his opponent both on the ground and through the air. His rushing numbers went steadily upwards during his years at Boise St., and he always made plays as a pass receiver. This is the type of weapon that opens things up for everyone else on offense.

On the other hand, doesn’t this guy remind you of Charles Sims? His game is actually very similar to that of McNichols. However, take out 2015 and Sims hasn’t been very good. He can’t stay healthy and isn’t, by and large, that effective in the running game to begin with. He’s a between the tackles type of guy that doesn’t have much explosion. That is why I believe McNichols will beat him out for the third running back position.

McNichols may work his way into the starting lineup, but that won’t happen right away. For now, he will be the change of pace back, able to rip off a big run or make a big catch when the Bucs need one. With that, here are the early stat projections:

  • 550 yards rushing, three touchdowns, 350 yards receiving, two touchdowns

Next: Five key backups to 2017 success

These are modest numbers but they are impactful ones. Jeremy McNichols will make plays for the Bucs, even in just his rookie year. What say you, the fans?