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Former Boise State running backs to compete in Atlanta Falcons' backfield

Jeremy McNichols signed with Atlanta Thursday and former Boise State cornerback Avery Williams is switching positions to play running back for the Falcons.

BOISE, Idaho — Former Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols is joining his eighth NFL organization since going pro in 2017.

McNichols signed with the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, reuniting him with Falcons' head coach Arthur Smith, who was McNichols' offensive coordinator in 2020. 

In the season under Smith in Tennessee, McNichols had one of the best seasons of his NFL career, rushing for 204 yards and a touchdown on 47 carries.

The 2017 fifth-round pick totaled 156 rushing yards to go along with 28 catches for 240 receiving yards last season for the Titans

Interestingly for Bronco Nation, McNichols will be competing for carries and potentially a roster spot against fellow Boise State alumnus Avery Williams.

On Thursday, the Falcons revealed the former All-Mountain West Conference cornerback will switch positions, jumping over to the offensive side of the ball.

Smith said the decision is a testament to Williams' versatility and football intelligence.

"We think there's possibly a spot for him on offense and it's not fair for him to keep moving him back and forth. Last year, we brought him along, expecting him to be the returner - he was. He gave us more snaps than we anticipated because of injuries on defense and he's a good team player," Smith said. "So, we thought as a staff, 'let's try him on offense and see what he can do.' That's a very valuable position, because if he can do that, he can help you there and then in a pinch, he can go right back over to defense and bail you out."

It will be a tight competition in Atlanta, with McNichols and Williams joining veterans Cordarrelle Patterson and Damien Williams in the Falcons' backfield. 

Other Atlanta running backs in the mix include fifth-round pick Tyler Allgeier, Qadree Ollison and Caleb Huntley, as well as veteran fullback Keith Smith.

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