2023 NFL Draft Rookie Profile: DeWayne McBride (Fantasy Football)
The 2023 NFL Draft class is loaded with running backs. Bijan Robinson is the lock of the century as the RB1 in the class, but after him, it gets a bit murkier. DeWayne McBride is part of the large group of running backs likely to be selected in the middle to late rounds of the draft. Let’s take a closer look at McBride, one of the most productive backs in the 2023 NFL Draft class.
Editors Note: This article is part of our Rookie Profile series going on until the 2023 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 2023.
McBride was a three-star recruit out of Vanguard High School in Orange Park, Florida, but he didn’t receive many scholarship offers. He committed to the University of Alabama-Birmingham, a Conference USA school. He was productive with his limited playing time as a freshman, including a school-record 75-yard touchdown run.
He burst onto the scene as a sophomore and completely dominated as a junior. He led the nation with 1,713 rushing yards in 2022, and his 19 rushing touchdowns were one short of the lead, despite sitting out the Bahamas Bowl. He was the only Group of Five player selected as a semifinalist for both the Maxwell and Doak Walker awards.
|4.52 sec (HS)
As Mike pointed out in the post-combine rookie mock draft, McBride is the ideal size for an NFL running back. A hamstring injury prevented him from participating in the combine, though he ran an unofficial 40-yard dash at 4.52 seconds in high school. There were hopes that he could beat that time at UAB’s pro day on March 22, but the same lingering hamstring issue kept him out again. A fast 40-yard dash isn’t everything for running backs, but the fact that he couldn’t run it at all during the pre-draft process could be viewed as a negative by NFL teams. He will still attempt to hold a private workout before the draft.
What’s on Tape
Games Viewed: BYU (2021 Independence Bowl), LSU (2022), Georgia Southern (2022), Western Kentucky (2022), North Texas (2022)
1. McBride Does Not Go Down Easy
The first thing that jumps out when watching McBride is his pure power. His tape is littered with stiff arms and broken tackles. According to PFF, his 1,072 yards after contact were the second most in the entire FBS in 2022. That’s one more yard after contact than superstar Bijan Robinson. His yards after contact per attempt ranked third among qualified rushers at 4.60, considerably higher than Bijan’s 4.17.
2. He’s More Than Just a Battering Ram
As powerful as he is, he has exceptionally good footwork and vision. He can bounce it outside when the middle is stuffed but more impressively, he can shift his path and find a small opening when it becomes available. The clip below appears to be designed as an off-tackle run against LSU, but McBride finds the opening up the gut and busts through it. Then he uses the aforementioned power to finish the run in the endzone.
3. He Can Break a Big Play Every Time He Touches the Ball
McBride will never be the fastest player on the field, but when combined with his tackle-breaking ability, he’s fast enough to house the rock on any play. In the clip below from the 2021 Independence Bowl, he breaks into the open, stiff arms a defensive back into oblivion, then has just enough speed and balance to run through the defenders attempting to wrap up his feet.
What’s NOT on Tape
1. Pass Catching
Okay, technically, there are a few catches on film. Five, to be exact. Those five receptions over three years are the fewest I could find from any running back drafted over the last decade. The back with the next fewest was Zamir White with 11 catches, more than double McBride’s catch count. It doesn’t mean that McBride can’t catch passes, but he has very little experience in the passing game.
2. Top-Level Competition
Most of McBride’s impressive college production came against inferior competition in Conference USA. He frequently got to run through gaping holes against the likes of Georgia Southern and Western Kentucky, but he was limited to just 34 yards on 13 carries against LSU. It’s difficult to predict how his rushing ability will translate to the highest level of competition in the NFL.
2023 Fantasy Outlook
McBride has the physical build and rushing style of a prototypical NFL power back. He’s projected to be a day-three pick in the RB-heavy 2023 NFL Draft, which would mean there is no guarantee he sees the field in his rookie season. His most likely path to fantasy success would mirror that of Isiah Pacheco last season. He landed in a good situation, showed out in camp, and gained opportunities thanks to injuries in front of him. The other optimistic case for McBride is to earn the valuable goal line role as part of a running back by committee on a good offense. Of course, there’s also the chance he spends most of his rookie season on the bench. Unless he gets surprising draft capital or summer buzz, there’s a high probability that McBride goes extremely late or undrafted in redraft leagues. In dynasty formats, he’s a low-risk, high-reward running back that you can likely get near the end of rookie drafts.