5 Boise State Players To Watch In the NFL
The NFL regular season is almost here, and even though there’s no professional football in Idaho, we can still cheer on our Boise State alumni every Sunday. Here are some former Broncos to keep an eye on this season.
RB Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins
Jay Ajayi had a breakout sophomore season in 2016, and he’s looking to build upon that success in year three. Ajayi has been a high-value target for fantasy owners and will see a lot of action in the Miami Dolphins offense stacked with some offensive weapons and a rejuvenated Jay Cutler under center. Ajayi is known for his breakaway speed and big-play potential, but he can also play a role as a pass-catching running back out of the backfield. He played 15 games in 2015, racking up 1,272 yards and an average of 4.9 yards per carry. The Dolphins open the regular season September 10th against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
C Matt Paradis, Denver Broncos
Super Bowl 50 Champion and Idaho native Matt Paradis is entering his 4th season with Denver. Paradis was the only Broncos lineman to play in every game over these last two seasons and after an off-season hip surgery, he’s looking to continue that streak. Paradis has recovered and is looking to lead an offensive line with some new faces. John Elway went after free agents Menelik Watson and Ronald Leary last spring and drafted left tackle Garett Bolles out of Utah to protect Trevor Siemian’s blind side. If all goes well, Paradis will be one of the best Centers in the NFL and could secure another trip to the Pro Bowl.
OT Charles Leno, Chicago Bears
Another BSU lineman from the same draft as Matt Paradis is looking to build on a stellar start in Chicago, and he’s got the new contract to keep him motivated; Leno signed a four-year extension worth $38 Million at the end of August. Leno was named the starter in 2016, and has been a huge impact despite having low expectations as a 7th round draft pick. This is certainly a smart move for John Fox and the Bears, who will need to protect future franchise Quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
OT Rees Odhimabo, Seattle Seahawks
Another BSU lineman is trying to earn a starting job in his second year with the team. After George Fant tore his ACL, Odhiambo got his first start in a preseason game against Kansas City. He allowed one sack in the second half of the game but played well overall, and will make his first career start this weekend against the Packers.
RB Jeremy McNichols, San Francisco 49ers
Speaking of the Bucs, there’s another BSU running back in Florida. Jeremy McNichols took over the reins at BSU in 2015 once Ajayi went pro. He started 12 games in 2015 and finished with 1,337 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 1709 yards and 23 touchdowns in his final year as a Bronco were enough to impress the Bucs, who drafted him in the fifth round of this year’s NFL Draft. Doug Martin, another former Bronco and Bucs starting running back, is serving a three-game suspension and the backups are expected to pick up the slack. McNichols struggled in the preseason, and was cut by the Bucs last weekend but found a spot on the San Francisco 49ers practice squad.