McNichols racked up 53 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 total yards the last three years with the Broncos. He was an all-conference selection both years and recorded 16 100-yard games, including eight with at least 150.
"They told me I would get drafted," he said last December when asked what feedback he received from teams and agent. "So that made my decision a little bit more easier."
McNichols was drafted by the Buccaneers in the fifth round (162nd overall) but was released on Sept. 2 when they trimmed the roster to 53 players. While he signed a practice squad contract with the San Francisco 49ers, barring an unexpected decision, he will not be on their Week 1 roster.
He is one of five players selected with one of the top 175 picks in the 2017 NFL Draft that were cut before Week 1.
Dorian Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
Selected: 4th Round (115th overall)
Fourth-round picks failing to make 53-man Week 1 rosters is common. However, most of those guys were selected in the late part of the fourth round, not in the round's top 10 picks.
The former four-star recruit was a four-year starter at Pittsburgh but fell to the fourth round, where the Cardinals selected him. Widely regarded as one of the steals of the draft, Johnson was released on Sept. 2 and signed to the practice squad a day later.
Zach Banner – Indianapolis Colts
Selected: 4th Round (137th overall)
Like Dorian Johnson, Zach Banner was a highly rated high school recruit. He started 37 games over his final three seasons at USC and was drafted by the Colts near the end of the fourth round.
The 6-foot-8, 350-pounder was waived on Sept. 3 and claimed by the Browns the next day.
Jake Elliott – Cincinnati Bengals
Selected: 5th Round (153rd overall)
A four-year starer at Memphis, Jake Elliott was an All-American who finished among the top 10 FBS players for career scoring. He hoped his 78-percent field goal clip was enough to get drafted. He did not think it was enough to get drafted in the fifth round.
"I finally got a call from [the Bengals] in the fifth round, a lot earlier than I expected," he said in April.
Elliott, however, struggled in camp and could not beat out veteran Randy Bullock. He was cut on Sept. 2 and signed to the practice squad.
DeAngelo Yancey – Green Bay Packers
Selected: 5th Round (175th overall)
DeAngelo Yancey was drafted by the receiver-rich Packers in the fifth round after registering 141 career catches over four years at Purdue.
The 6-foot-1, 220-pound speedster did not impress enough in training camp to steal a spot from Geronimo Allison or Trevor Davis and was released on Sept. 2. He was also signed to the practice squad.