Trey McBride is a good player. Please listen to me talk about McBride. Arizona Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz suffered a season-ending knee injury in a Week 10 win over the Los Angeles Rams, according to multiple reports. Ertz suffered a serious injury after making a 12-yard catch late in the first quarter. Ertz was clutching his knee and was eventually carted to the locker room. Trey McBride is a good player.
Ertz’s absence is a massive blow. The Cardinals will count on others to step up. It’s time for rookie tight end Trey McBride to take advantage of the opportunity.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury anticipated receiving first-year contributions from McBride when they made him the first tight end off the board at No. 55 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. That hasn’t been the case. McBride has recorded just four receptions for 31 receiving yards via nine regular-season appearances. McBride has been a healthy scratch at times this season as he continues acclimating to the professional ranks.
Following Ertz’s first-quarter injury in Week 10, McBride played a season-high 62 snaps, which accounted for 91% of Arizona’s plays. McBride played all but one of Arizona’s 52 snaps following Ertz’s exit. McBride ran routes on 26 passing plays, per CBS Sports. By comparison, fellow backup tight end Stephen Anderson played just 25 snaps despite Ertz’s injury. Veteran Maxx Williams may be added to the active roster from the practice squad, but McBride appears primed for a huge workload moving forward.
The 32-year-old Ertz is in his first season of a three-year, $31.6 million extension signed with the Cardinals, per Spotrac. Ertz’s contract contains $17.5 million in guaranteed money, so he’ll likely return to Arizona in 2023. Ertz has recorded 47 receptions for 406 receiving yards and four touchdowns this season. Omitting the Rams contest due to an early injury, Ertz was averaging 7.5 targets per contest. That’s a lot of new-found targets available in Arizona’s passing offense. Expect McBride to soak up some of those opportunities.
Ertz ranked fifth among all pass catchers with 40% of his team’s targets inside the 10-yard line prior to the injury, per Josh Norris. Starting quarterback Kyler Murray may search for the 6-foot-4 McBride, who’s a legitimate weapon in the red area.
McBride is no stranger to heavy workloads should Arizona decide to expand his opportunities. In 2021, McBride totaled 90 receptions for 1,121 receiving yards and one touchdown. It made McBride one of the more intriguing tight end prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.
McBride’s NFL Scouting Combine and Pro Day results indicated he possessed the athletic ability necessary to become a difference-making pass catcher at the next level. McBride ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.56 seconds and posted a respectable 117-inch broad jump. McBride was viewed as an ideal fit for Arizona’s spread-you-thin approach.
McBride hasn’t enjoyed the first-year campaign he envisioned. He’ll now receive a starring opportunity to secure a strong finish to his debut season. Trey McBride is capable of capitalizing on his impending moment.