RB Lew Nichols III (Central Michigan) and the Box Count: Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room


Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room examines 2023 NFL Draft prospect, RB Lew Nichols III of Central Michigan, a rugged back who could rely more on pre-snap box counts to set up his carries.

Efficiency + Effort = Consistent Production

Nichols is a high-effort running prospect. At 5-10, 220 pounds, he’s in the sweet spot of backs capable of carrying the workload of a lead back in the NFL.

There’s a lot to like about Nichols. He bounces off contact from all three levels of the defense. He has the agility and effort to keep his feet high over the trash of fallen bodies in a crease. He also has enough acceleration to force linebackers to chase him down if there’s a clean hole downhill.

However, Nichols lacks top acceleration and speed. He’s athletic enough to make an NFL ball club, but in a league filled with owners, GMs, and personnel decision-makers who tend to overvalue speed, Nichols must develop compensatory factors that will help him deliver consistent production.

The most important compensatory factor for Nichols’ game will be understanding defensive alignments and how they relate to the play his offense is running. At this point, if Nichols wants a shot at developing into a reliable NFL contributor who can provide serviceable work as a lead back when called upon, he has to improve his pre-snap diagnosis of box counts.

If Nichols becomes adept at diagnosing the intentions of the 14-21 bodies in front of him before the snap, which comes down to identifying and filtering areas of the field based on the call and the defensive alignment, he’ll find solutions that will look easy.

And once Nichols has a strong feel for this part of the game, it will also underpin his overall efficiency of movement because he’ll be operating from a plan. Right now, his game is a little more disjointed.

He can help an NFL team right now but there’s a difference between being helpful and becoming a weekly asset. This is the starting point for his path to becoming one.

And of course, if you want to know about the rookies from this draft class, you will find the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), with the 2022 Rookie Scouting Portfolio for $21.95. 

Matt’s new RSP Dynasty Rankings and Two-Year Projections Package is available for $24.95

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

If you’re a fantasy owner and interested in purchasing past publications for $9.95 each, the 2012-2020 RSPs also have a Post-Draft Add-on that’s included at no additional charge.  

Best yet, proceeds from sales are set aside for a year-end donation to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse of children. 

Categories: 2023 NFL Draft, Matt Waldman, Players, Running Back, The Boiler RoomTags: , , , , , ,

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