The value an elite tight end can bring to a roster is constantly undervalued. Recently players like Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz and George Kittle have been the focal points of some of the best teams in the NFL. There are very few difference-making tight ends, which is why finding one is a home run for a franchise. In the upcoming 2022 draft class, Trey McBride from Colorado State has the talent to be a top-five tight end in the NFL and the focal point of an offense.
It starts with what teams value at the position. Yes, the position has moved more toward being receiver-driven, but teams still value high-level blockers. Being able to block gets tight ends on the field earlier. If a player can't hold his own as a blocker, coaches won't put him on the field. McBride won't have an issue in that regard. He is the best blocker at the position in the draft, displaying excellent play strength and movement skills.
As a down blocker, McBride consistently put defenders in the dirt. When asked to move downfield and locate defensive backs, McBride does a great job of attaching to them and creating holes for ball carriers to run through. In terms of balance, McBride always stays square in front of defenders in pass protection. There isn't a hole in McBride's game as a blocker, and teams will love the way he blocks. McBride is out there to finish the play until the whistle. He wants to pancake whoever is in front of him.
What also separates McBride is his ability as a receiver. McBride has excellent hands. It doesn't matter how contested he is; McBride is coming down with the football. He hasn't had more than one drop in any season during his career, and that should carry over into the NFL. McBride also doesn't fumble, with zero in his career so far. In terms of his speed, McBride moves very well for being 260 pounds. He can move laterally and is quick enough to create separation at the top of the route stem. McBride also wins through physicality, bullying defenders at the catch point and then extending his arms to separate the ball from the opponent.
A common theme on film is that McBride wins in many ways as a receiver and as a blocker. He doesn't make mistakes in either regard and is extremely reliable. McBride is what the majority of tight ends look like in the NFL. People will fall in love with the 6'6" receiver and is a crazy good athlete, but those players often don't pan out. McBride has the talent to be right up there with some of the best in the league, and it isn't out of the question that he reaches a Dallas Goedert or Mark Andrews level. He should be in consideration to be the first tight end selected and has all the makings not only to be a premier player in the league but a top-five tight end in the NFL.
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