2022 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: Trey McBride (Fantasy Football)
Trey McBride is coming off one of the most productive collegiate seasons ever witnessed from a tight end. He’s poised to be the first tight end selected from the 2022 draft class. According to Grinding the Mocks, his expected draft position of 47.9 is nearly 40 slots higher than any other tight end in the class.
Before we dive into McBride’s profile, let’s zoom out and look at the rookie tight end landscape in recent seasons. The fantasy football world was blessed with two rookie tight ends that produced immediately in 2021. Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth put up two of the top three rookie tight-end fantasy seasons since 2015. The table below shows the top two fantasy tight ends from each rookie class since 2015.
|Rookie Tight End
As the data suggests, it’s rare for a rookie to put up reliable fantasy points from the tight end position.
Kyle Pitts made history when the Falcons selected him with the fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft. While McBride is expected to be the first TE off the board in the NFL Draft, his name probably won’t get called until day two. Let’s take the dive and see how he projects as a fantasy prospect at the pro level.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2022 NFL Draft. For more on each rookie, check out Andy, Mike, and Jason’s exclusive rookie rankings and production profiles found only in the Dynasty Pass, part of the UDK+ for 2022.
McBride went to high school right down the road from Colorado State, where he was an all-around player on the football team. Along with 89 catches for 1,737 yards and 23 touchdowns as a tight end in his high school career, he also racked up 310 tackles, 14 sacks, seven interceptions, and six blocked punts. He also left as the school’s all-time leader in basketball points scored and home runs.
His freshman season with the Rams was nothing impressive, but he got on the field and started five games as an 18-year-old. His production increased year over year for the rest of his career in Fort Collins. He was the team’s leading pass-catcher in each of his final two seasons.
McBride’s senior season was something special. His 1,121 receiving yards were the fifth-most ever put up by an FBS tight end. It was more receiving yards than top wideout prospects Drake London, Garrett Wilson, and Treylon Burks produced in their final collegiate seasons. His 93.4 receiving yards/game rivaled the 96.3 that Kyle Pitts put up during his final collegiate season. He finished as a unanimous first-team All-American and won the John Mackey Award as the top tight end in college football.
His height is slightly shorter than the average fantasy football TE1, but not enough to be a concern. He was listed as 260 pounds on his college roster but weighed in at 246 pounds at the combine. That height and weight combination is nearly identical to George Kittle.
His athletic measurables aren’t anything special, at least not for an NFL tight end. He decided not to run the 40-yard dash at the combine but could still do so at the Colorado State pro day on March 30. Speed isn’t everything for tight ends, but if he runs it under 4.7 seconds, expect him to generate some increased draft buzz.
What’s on Tape
Games Viewed: Fresno State (2019), South Dakota State (2021) Vanderbilt (2021), San Jose State (2021), Utah State (2021) Hawaii (2021)
Physicality before, during, and after the catch
McBride knows how to use his size and strength as an advantage to get off the line and get open. He fights through defensive linemen and linebackers that try to slow him down while getting into his routes when lined up tight. He also isn’t phased by contact at the catch point, frequently securing passes while simultaneously getting hit by a defender.
His physicality is even more evident after the catch. He rarely gets taken down by a single defender in the open field and regularly carries tacklers for extra yardage.
Better athleticism than his measurables suggest
As mentioned earlier, McBride’s athletic measurables don’t pop. The film tells a different story. He moves great in space, runs crisp routes, and has plenty of game speed for a tight end. He certainly isn’t on the same level as Kyle Pitts, but he’s more than athletic enough to succeed at the position in the NFL
Run blocking at the NFL level is often an impediment to rookie tight ends getting on the field. McBride showed on tape that he can hold his own in the trenches, though he lacked consistency. He does an adequate job sealing the edge on outside runs but has more trouble when asked to drive a defender off the ball or engage a linebacker at the second level. His run blocking isn’t a red flag, but it is something he’ll have to improve to be a full-time player in the NFL, which might not happen in his rookie season.
What’s NOT on Tape
According to Pro Football Focus, McBride dropped just three passes on 98 catchable targets in 2021. He’s about as sure-handed as it gets as a pass-catcher. His tape is littered with concentration catches, one-handed grabs, and squeezing the ball to come down with a reception.
McBride was undoubtedly the best offensive weapon on his team. During his senior season, he caught more passes than his next three top teammates combined. He was the focal point of the offense, commanding a 34% target share in his final season.
He also didn’t regularly see top-tier competition on the other side of the ball. The Mountain West conference is a significant step down from the SEC or Big Ten. Even in the less-heralded conference, Colorado State was far from a powerhouse. The Rams finished with a losing record in all four of McBride’s seasons.
2022 Fantasy Outlook
As alluded to in the intro, we need to temper expectations for McBride. Don’t expect immediate success, especially from a fantasy football point of view. It would take the perfect storm of landing spot and opportunity for him to be a regular fantasy contributor as a rookie. He’s likely to be worth nothing more than a last-round flier in a redraft league.
Things are a little different in dynasty leagues. If you’re willing and able to be patient, McBride could pay off in the long term. Tight ends typically take two or more years to develop into a reliable fantasy option. If you have the luxury of stashing McBride on your bench and waiting for his game to mature, he could pay off in the long run.