As a small school running back, DeWayne McBride will always face questions about the level of competition. Against that competition, McBride was phenomenal. He was one of the top-producing backs in college football, and he’s an outstanding runner on his game film. McBride has questions, but he will be a third-day pick with the potential to make a mark in the NFL and fantasy.
- College: University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)
- Height: 5’10”
- Weight: 209 lbs.
- Age: 21 yrs. (July 8, 2001)
- Year: Junior
- Hand Size 9.5”
- Arm Length 30.625”
- Draft Projection: Day Three – Fifth to Seventh Round
McBride was a three-star prospect but received quite a bit of attention from smaller schools. He played his high school ball at Vanguard High and hails from Ocala, Florida. McBride received 21 offers total, including offers from Coastal Carolina, Louisville, Purdue, and Tulane. After committing to the Blazers, McBride went to work almost immediately.
In the shortened 2020 season, McBride saw limited action but still eclipsed 100 yards rushing in two games. He established himself as the most talented back quickly and took over as the full-time back as a sophomore.
In 2021, he rushed for 1,371 yards and scored 13 times. McBride led the Conference USA in rushing yards per attempt at 6.7 and was third in rushing yards. He built on that total in 2022, winning the C-USA Offensive Player of the Year award. McBride rushed for 1,713 yards, second-most in the NCAA, and led in yards per attempt again with 7.4. His 19 rushing TDs were the third-most in the NCAA, and McBride opted to take his talents to the NFL.
Power and Contact Balance
McBride has a really good blend of size, power, and instincts, but make no mistake – he’s a power back at the core. He’s got the ability to make people miss with a good short-area burst and can make a defender miss with a cut. But McBride thrives with his power and running north and south. He doesn’t mess around and will run through tacklers.
Here’s a great showcase of the power; McBride is an animal near the goal line. He fights hard for yards and keeps his legs churning through contact.
I don’t know how McBride stayed in bounds through the contact on this run. It’s one of the best runs I’ve seen; 99% of runners would have just gone out of bounds.
DeWayne McBride in pass protection 👀 Look who he blocks btw pic.twitter.com/kXpzjsDz0P— Tyler Browning (@DiabeticTyler) March 27, 2023
With the power comes a ferocious desire to block, too. I LOVE seeing this in college backs.
Vision and Instincts
He’s not going to be the type of back that can create on his own, but McBride has good vision to see the hole that is there. He’s also got the instinct to see things developing and slow a little to allow blocks to set up. He’s not a patient back, but McBride does allow blockers time, and he’s not going to dilly-dally with the ball if it’s not developing quickly. He will plant his foot and get upfield before losing yards waiting for something to happen.
Here’s a good example of how the vision goes with his style of running. McBride looks to be taking the run outside and sees the crease between the right guard and tackle. The play appeared to be going left, but McBride exploited a hole, and when he got to the second level, he knifed through for a massive gain.
This run is a good mix of vision and instincts. McBride sees nothing inside and, without hesitation, breaks the run outside. Then he goes back inside down the field, plowing through defenders to get the score.
The amount of effort on this run is simply ridiculous. I wish I had a Chris Berman whoop to insert when he spin-cycles those poor defenders into NotGonnaTackleMe Land. He almost lost his footing and lost yards, then left the two dudes in the dust before making a few others miss downfield. Then McBride just takes a seat. You’ve earned it, young man.
McBride would excel in gap and zone-blocking schemes, and he’s versatile enough in this area to which he could fit on teams running either scheme. As mentioned in the previous section, he will allow plays to develop and use linemen in a gap scheme. With zone, McBride will find the hole as it opens, and he’s going to get through it quickly. He can read the line well, and when an opening is there, he’s going to get through it as soon as possible. There is not a lot of messing around in McBride’s run style.
Lack of Pass Catching
This isn’t hard to discuss; McBride caught five passes in three seasons. UAB had another back on the team catch passes, although not a bunch, so it seems as if the team didn’t trust McBride in that role. He will need to prove he can, or develop that trait, in order to stay on the field for three downs. His value is severely limited if he does not.
McBride had eleven fumbles in his career and had two games last season in which he lost two a game. That’s an alarming number of fumbles, especially considering the level of competition he faced. Defenders in the NFL will know this and be targeting it. The fumbles were throughout his career, so they didn’t improve, and we have to assume it was something McBride had tried to improve.
The Wrap Up
McBride has a ton of potential as a two-down back, and he’s a strong inside runner. The power and instincts will get him a role in the NFL, but the lack of pass-catching ability will hurt his role and draft stock. If he can’t improve the ball security, McBride could be out of the league in a hurry.
A team will take a shot on the third day of the draft, and McBride will get a chance to prove himself. He’s worth taking a flier on in your rookie drafts, too, especially if he lands on a team where he may have an opportunity. McBride could develop into a worthwhile fantasy starter if he cleans up ball security and even adds the ability to catch 20-25 passes. It’s hard to project him being better than an RB3 unless things really go well for him.
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