football, Boise State, McNichols
Photo via Pam Davis

McNichols, Vallejo lead group of Boise State Broncos headed to NFL

The 2017 NFL draft is in the books with two former Boise State Broncos hearing their names called on day 3.

It may have taken a day longer than in previous seasons, but two Boise State football players were drafted in the 2017 NFL draft. And a handful of others were signed as undrafted free agents or invited to tryout in camps.

After putting up strong combine numbers and skipping Boise State’s pro day as he recovered from shoulder surgery, running back Jeremy McNichols got the call first. He was selected in the fifth-round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

McNichols became the fourth straight Boise State player who left school early to be selected in the draft. He follows Kamalei Correa (Baltimore Ravens, 2016), Jay Ajayi (Miami Dolphins, 2015) and DeMarcus Lawrence (Dallas Cowboys, 2014).

For Boise State in 2016, McNichols ran for 1,709 yards. His 27 total touchdowns were second in the nation. He should help bring versatility to a Tampa Bay team that could have one of the best young offenses in the game.

He joins up with another former Boise State running back, Doug Martin. Martin will be serving a suspension to start the season so there could be a good chance McNichols gets plenty of touches in training camp and beyond.

One round after the Bucs selected McNichols the Buffalo Bills drafted linebacker Tanner Vallejo.

Vallejo had been a staple of the Boise State defense over the past three seasons. He battled through injuries for much of his last two seasons after locking down defensive MVP of the Fiesta Bowl as a sophomore.

Still, true to form of Boise State players, Vallejo will bring a hard-working attitude to Buffalo. The Bills also took a linebacker in the fifth-round, drafting Matt Milano out of Boston College.

Undrafted Free Agents

According to the Mountain West Conference undrafted free agent list, several former Broncos have signed on with a variety of teams.

Boise State’s leader in career receiving yards, Thomas Sperbeck, and cornerback Jonathan Moxey, are each going to join McNichols in Tampa Bay. (Is former Boise State and current Buccaneer head coach Dirk Koetter building a blue brand in Tampa Bay? Let’s hope so.)

Offensive lineman Travis Averill, who started 38 games over the last three seasons, has earned a shot with the Atlanta Falcons.

Defensive lineman Sam McCaskill will be going to the Minnesota Vikings. It has almost become tradition for at least one former Bronco to go to Minnesota, as Chase Baker, Blake Renaud, and Ian Johnson have all made this trek.

Mario Yakoo, another member from last season’s starting offensive line, has been invited to tryout with the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins. Former teammate, safety Chanceller James, also received tryout invites with the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints.

Mountain West Notables

Overall, the Mountain West conference saw eight former players selected in the 2017 draft.

The San Diego State Aztecs had three players selected while the Wyoming Cowboys had two.

First-team all-conference running backs Donnel Pumphrey of San Diego State and Brian Hill of Wyoming were selected ahead of McNichols. Pumphrey went 132nd overall to the Philadelphia Eagles while Hill was selected six spots before McNichols by the Falcons.



About Jason Haskins

Jason Haskins

Jason is a 2001 graduate of Boise State and has been an avid fan of Boise State Athletics since the late 90’s. Originally from Spring Creek, Nv, Jason grew up a fan of the Fred Gatlin era Nevada Wolf Pack, but immediately switched his allegiances after attending school at Boise State. He hasn’t looked back since and remains a loyal supporter of Boise State.

Check Also

Broncos Back in the Top 25

It’s been just 12 hours (10 A.M. MTN) since the Broncos put on their Mountain …