Bronco Beat

ESPN’s Mel Kiper: Boise State’s McNichols a fourth- or fifth-rounder

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. held a teleconference in conjunction with the release of his first mock draft Thursday, and took questions from all across the nation. I was able to ask him about Boise State players in the draft.

Kiper first spoke about junior running back Jeremy McNichols, who announced last month he will forgo his senior year for the draft, and gave his thoughts on another Bronco he’s high on in April’s NFL Draft. He said that if McNichols shows well in testing, be it at the combine or pro day, it could certainly help his stock.

“The production’s there, the versatility’s there, I would say fourth, fifth round I’d say right now for (McNichols),” Kiper said. “I like Thomas Sperbeck a lot as a late-round pick, or a priority free agent. I think he can make it as a slot receiver in this league with his smarts and his hands and his concentration. The production was off the charts, so I would think Sperbeck is one of the intriguing late-round wide receivers in this draft.”

McNichols is rated as the No. 11 running back in the draft by CBS Sports, projecting he goes in the fourth-round range. USA Today projected he goes on the second day (second or third round). Sperbeck is seen by most sites as an undrafted free agent, with some only expecting linebacker Tanner Vallejo the only Boise State draftee in addition to McNichols.

Jay Ajayi, the former Boise State running back headed to his first Pro Bowl with the Dolphins, was taken in the fifth round in 2015.

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