McNichols opened the preseason up with 12 yards on two carries against Cincinnati. Then led the team in carried with 11 the next week for 32 yards, though all late in the game. In the third game he only managed one carry for negative one yards, and was pulled after blatantly missing a block. And in his preseason finale, he gained 36 yards on 10 carries.
But, the real story with McNichols wasn’t about the stats, it was about mentality. Whether it was being overwhelmed by the playbook or the bright lights and pressure of the NFL, McNichols never looked comfortable at any point during camp or the preseason. Because of this, he looked timid when carrying the ball, and got his quarterbacks a few extra bruises in pass protection.
He’s a talented kid, but was clearly the fifth or even sixth most trusted back on the 90-man roster. No team keeps that many running backs.
There’s a chance he could return to the practice squad, but there’s also a chance another team lures him away. Whatever the result is, for now, he’s no longer a Buccaneer.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org