The 49ers running backs are pretty much set before training camp can happen. They have Jerick McKinnon starting and then Matt Breida coming in for complimentary work. Joe Williams could beat Bredia out in training camp, or become a decent third option. And don’t forget Raheem Mostert who brings special teams value as well as knowledge of Shanahan’s playbook. Those are the players for 49ers running back squad.
Notice, Jeremy McNichols is not listed as one of them.
McNichols was drafted in the 5th round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coming with some solid stats from Boise State, McNichols struggled immediately in the pro game. The Buccaneers didn’t give him a season, they cut him after a multitude of mistakes and from his own difficulties learning the offense. He made his way to the San Francisco 49ers a few days later.
McNichols was promoted to the active roster in December after an injury forced Mostert out for the season. And that’s McNicols’ NFL career. He never saw the field during his call-up besides a special teams play or two and is now fighting with Mostert and a returning Williams for a job.
Experience: 0 credited/accrued seasons; Two games on active roster
Weight: 212 pounds
He is entering the final year of a two year contract, signing the contract at his promotion to the 53-man roster. His salary is $555,000, and if cut before June 1st, the 49ers can save all of that from a dead money hit. If he earns a roster spot and plays out the contract, he will be an exclusive rights free agent next offseason.
What to expect in 2018
McNichols has to step things up in order to make the 53-man roster early. At this point and with the running backs on the roster, he’s a Game 4 preseason starter and another practice squad candidate. The 49ers have Joe Williams competing with Breida, and Mostert working his way on via special teams and in case of disaster. McNichols’ biggest issue is what’s between his ears, but even then, it’s an uphill battle. He will only see the main roster if injuries pile up like last year.
Odds of making the roster
Running back injuries are common given the punishment they take. Given that McNichols has a year in Shanahan’s system, he’s got value given how difficult it is to grasp. Then again, this guy has been cited for having difficulties in the knowledge department so that’s probably not a plus. At best, McNichols offers special teams depth, but he’s got too deep of a unit to crack in 2018.