Trey McBride Can Make Day-One Impact In The NFL

Photo: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado State’s first unanimous All-American in the program’s 114-year history, McBride has continued to rewrite the record books. A product of small-town Fort Morgan, Colorado, where the unheralded, underrecruited 3-star prospect calls home, his game is much, much more than just a heartwarming chronicle. 

The Rams’ do-it-all talent on offense and college football’s Mackey Award winner (top TE), McBride’s 2021 campaign was nothing short of spectacular. While his accomplishments and weekly impact often flew under the radar as eyes were drawn to the prestige and edge-of-your-seat action within the country’s Power 5 conferences, McBride quietly enjoyed one of the most impactful seasons CFB has ever seen from an in-line talent. 

While we’ll get to what makes McBride so unique as a prospect later, a peek at his impact from a bird’s eye view presents an awfully impressive picture. At 6-foot-4, McBride led all tight ends in receptions (90), yards (1,121), and yards per game (93.4), becoming CSU’s career and single-season leader in both categories. And while the Rams’ offense finished a mere sixth in the Mountain West for total passing yards on the season (3,020), McBride alone finished responsible for 30.13% of the entire aerial attack.

The yardage was the fifth-most in a single season by an FBS tight end and the conference’s history, and while we could go on and on to highlight his accomplishments this season, where McBride has truly set himself alone as a prospect, and what has made him so intriguing among NFL circles this fall, is his true day-one projection as premier pass target from the moment he steps into a professional facility.

Let’s start up front. While it’s nice to flip on the film and watch him jump over two defenders and escape to paydirt or take a five-yard slant to the house, where McBride will have to continue to improve his game is within the trenches as a further extension of the offensive line. Here, well, his physicality and attention to detail showcases itself as he drives the San Diego State defender 10 yards downfield and off your screen. 

While the NFL game has become increasingly pass-happy over the last few seasons, and tight ends have become quicker and asked to serve a much larger role in the aerial attack, blocking remains a major necessity at the position. Sure, it’s nice to have a guy lined out adjacent to your offensive tackle that can run and move in space with the best athletes on either side of the line of scrimmage, but if he’s unable to stick his face in the mud as a run-blocker, or chip a T.J. Watt or Myles Garrett coming off the edge, their role remains limited.

This is where McBride’s film gets fun, as his game eerily emulates that of football’s elite in Travis Kelce out of school. While it would be juvenile to say McBride is the ‘next big thing’ at the TE spot, especially after the season we saw 2021 No. 4 overall pick Kyle Pitts have for Atlanta this year, McBride has every single trait you look for as a future high-volume target within a pro offense. Ball skills? Check. Balance and the ability to run through contact? Check. Elite athleticism? You bet. In a day in age in the scouting realm where teams look to select players with as many ‘boxes checked’ as possible to fully understand who and what they are getting in each individual player taken, it’s hard to find flaws in McBride’s versatile, evolving skill set. 

A small school standout whose stock has continued to rise, he’s a guy I'm pounding the table for come late April.

Written By:

Ryan Fowler

Staff Writer

Feature Writer for The Draft Network. Former Staff Writer for the Washington Football Team. Multiple years of coverage within the NFL and NBA.