Bronco Beat

Former Boise State running back McNichols, Idahoan QB Taysom Hill find new NFL teams

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jeremy McNichols runs against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter Thursday in Tampa, Fla.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Jeremy McNichols runs against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter Thursday in Tampa, Fla. AP

Jeremy McNichols’ short-lived tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is over.

On Saturday, the rookie running back was placed on waivers after struggling in training camp with the team that drafted him in the fifth round in April. No team claimed him by Sunday afternoon, making him a free agent. He could have been a candidate to re-sign with Tampa Bay on its practice squad, but the Buccaneers signed another running back in Russell Hansbrough.

McNichols found a landing spot quickly, as the San Francisco 49ers will sign him to their 10-man practice squad, according to the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo.

During the preseason, McNichols struggled mightily picking up the NFL offense and aspects like pass blocking. Running backs coach Tim Spencer said on Tuesday’s episode of “Hard Knocks” on HBO that McNichols “gets a little overwhelmed sometimes.”

In Aug. 26’s preseason game against the Browns, McNichols was pulled after two plays following a blown assignment that got quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick sacked. Coach Dirk Koetter said “he’s going to get our quarterback killed.”

McNichols rushed 24 times for 79 yards and did not have a reception in four preseason games.

San Francisco has one former Boise State teammate on the roster in safety Chanceller James, who will not play in 2017 while on injured reserved with a torn ACL.

Practice squad players cannot play in games, but other teams can sign them. If they do, they must place them on the 53-man roster. Players are paid a minimum of $7,200 a week, or $122,400 for a season. The minimum rookie salary for players on the 53-man roster is $465,000.

Two other former Boise State players were signed to practice squads Sunday — cornerback Donte Deayon, a bit of a surprise cut Saturday, was signed to the Giants’ practice squad for a second straight season, and cornerback Jonathan Moxey, an undrafted rookie, signed to the Buccaneers’.

Meanwhile, former Highland High and BYU quarterback Taysom Hill was claimed off waivers by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Hill will join the 53-man roster as the third-string quarterback behind superstar Drew Brees and backup Chase Daniel. Hill was cut Saturday by the Packers, who were hoping to place him on their practice squad, according to published reports.

Hill, an undrafted free agent, impressed in the preseason. He was 14-for-20 for 149 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 71 yards and a TD.

Click here for our updates on NFL cutdowns from Saturday.

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