Bronco Beat

Buccaneers draft Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols in fifth round

Former Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols was selected in the fifth round Saturday (162nd overall) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the Bucs, he will team up with fellow former Bronco Doug Martin.

McNichols becomes the seventh Bronco running back to be drafted, and the third since 2012. As a junior last season, McNichols was No. 6 in the nation with 1,709 rushing yards and No. 2 with 27 total touchdowns. Also in Tampa, McNichols will be coached by former Boise State coach Dirk Koetter.

“He’s coming from Running Back U now, Jay Ajayi, Doug Martin ... they really like this back, a lot of guys say this guy’s the real deal,” former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis said on NFL Network.

With the selection, McNichols made it four straight drafts in which a Boise State early entrant was drafted, joining Kamalei Correa in 2016, Ajayi in 2015 and DeMarcus Lawrence in 2014. He will join one of the NFL’s most dynamic young offenses that includes Martin, quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans. Tampa Bay took Alabama tight end O.J. Howard in the first round and Penn State receiver Chris Godwin in the third round.

Martin tweeted “Welcome to the squad! Let's work!” to McNichols, who responded just a few minutes later.

“I got to meet him during the spring, so it’s just kind of ironic,” McNichols said of Martin. “I’ve heard that (comparison) just because we’re similar sizes and we went to Boise State. We’ve got a similar running style, so in that aspect I have heard that.”

Former Boise State offensive lineman Charles Leno, now with the Chicago Bears, was happy about the pairing of McNichols and Martin, tweeting references to their nicknames: “McWeapon” and “Muscle Hamster.”

The most recent Bronco running back drafted, Ajayi (fifth round, 2015), watched the draft with McNichols in Southern California. Ajayi’s Dolphins open the season Sept. 10 against the Buccaneers. Bryan Douglas, a former Boise State defensive back tweeted a video of McNichols celebrating being selected, spraying champagne on Ajayi.

Boise State coach Bryan Harsin spoke with the Tampa Bay Times about McNichols and said he should fit in well with Koetter’s offense.

Read our feature on McNichols and his friendships with Ajayi, first-rounder John Ross and Snoop Dogg here, more from Ajayi on McNichols here and where NFL mock drafts projected him here. Click here for more NFL Network discussion of the McNichols pick.