Lew Nichols III NFL Draft Scouting Report
RB, Central Michigan Chippewas
Lew Nichols III enters the 2023 NFL Draft as one of the most productive backs in the country. In 2021 as a junior, Nichols led the country in rushing yards with 1,848 and was one of the most explosive backs in the country. In 2022 as a senior, Nichols saw his production dip as he battled injuries and dealt with a rebuilding offensive line, but he is still a player who is very intriguing in the eyes of evaluators.
Nichols is a well-built back that offers very good size and a sturdy lower half. He is an above-average athlete for his size but like most bigger backs, he lacks some of the agility and top-end speed to make him a big-play threat at the next level. Nichols is a downhill runner who showcases patience, vision, and discipline when working to the line of scrimmage. He is able to quickly identify the hole and put his foot in the ground and get upfield. He flashes just average short-area burst and is a build-to-speed runner who only has one gear. Nichols displays very good contact balance and runs with good pad level. He routinely breaks arm tackles and is able to push the pile forward in short-area and goal-line situations.
Nichols is a straight-line athlete who is at his best when he goes north and south. He lacks the lateral agility and fluid hips to change direction and make defenders miss and relies on his blocking and power to turn positive plays. While Nichols routinely hit big plays in college, he displayed just above-average top-end speed and oftentimes was caught from behind down the field. In the passing game, Nichols was very productive as a dump-off and leak-out option where he showed a natural ability to catch the ball and make something happen in the open field. He did not show an ability to run routes or be a true difference-maker on third down. Nichols does show a willingness to pass block and has the size to anchor against the rush, but his angles and hand placement need improvement.
Overall, Nichols projects as a top backup who has some starter qualities but his lack of elusiveness, speed, and third-down ability hurt his outlook as a potential future starter.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
Top Reasons For Concern:
Weight: 220 lbs
Arm Length: 00 0/0”
Hand Size: 00 0/0”
Athletic Testing (TBD):
40-yard Dash: 0.00s
Vertical Jump: 00”
Broad Jump: 000”
Bench Reps: 00 reps
Ideal Role: Backup RB
Scheme Fit: Scheme-versatile
Prospect Comparison: Leonard Fournete
TDN Consensus Grade: 70.50/100 (Fifth-Round Value)
- Weissman Grade: 70.50/100
Written By: Brentley Weissman
Exposures: Penn State (2022), Oklahoma State (2022), Missouri (2021)
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