What to know about Lew Nichols III, Central Michigan running back and Green Bay Packers seventh-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft

Kassidy Hill
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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GREEN BAY − The Green Bay Packers picked up a big, cold-weather running back with Lew Nichols III out of Central Michigan. Nichols was the club's second pick of the seventh round, and No., 235 overall.

He's short and stout and has experience playing in the cold, which is high on the Packers priority list.

Central Michigan running back Lew Nichols III runs away from Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr.

Lew Nichols III will be a depth player behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon

PackersNews.com analysis: Nichols flew under the radar because of where he played and being part of the MAC, but he led the entire FBS in 2021, averaging 142.15 yards per game. He's a stout back with a low center of gravity that helps him stay balanced, picking through defenses. He doesn't have the flashy speed that might be necessary in big games, but in short-yardage situations, he should be able to get through the pile. Nichols does bring an extra facet as a receiving option. He has three receiving touchdowns on his career as well, and nabbed 21 receptions for 128 yards in 2022. Obviously, given the current structure of this unit, this was not a needed position. But having the depth of a big back behind Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon is always a positive.

Height, weight

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 220 pounds

Lew Nichols III's Central Michigan highlights

  • Concluded his career ranked No. 6 on Central Michigan’s all-time career rushing yardage chart with 3,061 yards
  • Concluded career ranked No. 2 on the CMU season rushing list (1,848 yards in 2021) and season rushing attempts (341 in 2021)
  • Tied at No. 4 for season rushing touchdowns (16 in 2021) and season touchdowns scored (18 in 2021)

Lew Nichols III on the Packers

On the high of his 2021 season, to the challenges of 2022: "2021 was just an amazing team from the coaching staff, to the players, on that championship team. In 2022, I battled some injuries. We lost a lot of guys previously to the NFL, so it was kinda hard to showcase what I could do ... but it's just adversity. I'm no stranger to adversity ... whatever opportunity presents itself, just take advantage of it."

On being asked to be a receiver at times: "They were mostly check downs and screens, but I (trust) my ability to help this team ... I have the utmost confidence in my ability and my hands. Every day, I'm working on my ability and my hands."

On being a cold-weather back: "I'm no stranger to the cold. I've been playing in it my whole life, I'm from Detroit ... then you just add in my stature ... once it gets colder, guys start not wrapping and making business decisions."

Draft Network's take on Lew Nichols III

"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. 

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