DeWayne McBride ended his college career with 3,523 rushing yards and 36 touchdowns in 31 games. Opposing defenses at the Group of Five level are glad to see McBride go, and one NFL team will be very happy this spring when they land his services.
McBride decided to leave school early, entering the 2023 NFL Draft. The decision makes sense, as McBride racked up 1,713 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in 12 games. The 5-foot-11 and 215-pound running back is ready for the next level.
One possible knock on McBride is that he only caught five passes in his college career, and NFL teams might want to see more out of him as a receiver. Some of the top running backs in the NFL – Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley, and Christian McCaffrey come to mind – are elite pass catchers. Still, McBride could fit the mold of a Nick Chubb, who contributes significantly on the ground while being used sparingly as a receiver.
Regardless of McBride’s receiving outlook, he can run. McBride possesses a nice blend of speed, agility, and power that should intrigue NFL teams in need of running backs.
While at UAB, McBride often used quick shifts near the hole to generate space. After creating separation from defenders, he quickly accelerated to turn first downs into chunk plays. Perhaps most impressive is McBride’s ability to run through arm tackles to keep runs alive and gain major yardage.
Over three seasons in college, McBride averaged 7.3 yards per carry. He earned 2022 Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year honors and routinely dominated C-USA defenses. His consistency – McBride rushed for over 100 yards in 10 of UAB’s final 11 games this season – only adds to the list of reasons to draft him.
Production against quality competition
A casual fan may be quick to discount McBride’s stats given his league affiliation at UAB, but that would be a mistake. Not only did McBride excel against his conference peers, but he also looked good against higher competition.
McBride rushed for 183 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries against BYU in the Independence Bowl in 2021. The Blazers won the 31-28 game in large part due to McBride’s play.
Earlier in the 2021 season, he ran for 61 yards on 13 carries (4.7 yards per carry) against Georgia, which went on to win the national championship behind a defense loaded with NFL talent. Against LSU this season, McBride scored a touchdown and added 34 rushing yards on 13 carries. While the stats weren’t remarkable against the Tigers, he tallied 95 rushing yards and a touchdown against Georgia and LSU over the last two seasons.
Those showings, plus his breakout game against BYU, give NFL scouts tape of the running back performing well despite his offensive line having a talent disadvantage to the opposing defensive front. If McBride lands on a team with a solid offensive line, he has the tools to succeed as a running back in the NFL.
Given his low receiving totals, McBride might fit into a running back committee early in his career. If he shows an ability to catch and pass protect on third downs, he could develop into an every-down player in the NFL. At the very least, McBride should be a productive running back early in his NFL career.