The regular season leading rusher in FBS this season wasn't any of the big name RB prospects in the draft. It wasn't Bijan Robinson, Blake Corum, Jahmyr Gibbs or Zach Charbonnet. It wasn't Chase Brown, the Illinois RB or Ibrahim the Minnesota back, though both of those 2 RBs were pretty close. The top rusher was UAB running back, DeWayne McBride (a RB from Air Force has since barely nudged ahead of him, but that's only because AF played their bowl game. McBride declared for the draft and isn't expected to play in his bowl game.) Most draft boards have McBride as about a 4th round prospect. Is he the best RB in this draft, only no one realizes it yet?
I doubt it. Some prospects are fun to watch. Not McBride. His game tape drove me nuts, I hate him so much as a draft prospect. Not only would I not draft this player in any round, I have a difficult time even making a convincing case to rank him as a priority UDFA. I just don't think he's a good player, to the point that I'm not even going to try to think of an NFL comp. It would shock me if McBride goes on to become a good NFL RB, even if we're only talking about being a good backup.
Name: DeWayne McBride, turns 22 years old next July. Nicknamed "Debo"
Size (per SI): 5'10 1/4'' tall, 215 pounds, 4.52 sec (40)
Comes from a humble background, from Florida. Went to 3 different high schools, living with a number of different relatives. One of 6 children. He says his dad has fathered about 20 kids with different women. 3 star recruit.
Was behind Spencer Brown at UAB in 2020. Brown (not to be confused with the big offensive lineman with the same name who plays for the Bills) was a fringe draft prospect who was an UDFA in 2021 and is on the PS of the Carolina Panthers. Coach said that by the end of the 2020 season, McBride was better than Brown.
Had good 2021 season and had offers to transfer, but stayed at UAB instead.
Had ankle sprain in a 2021 game and an ankle injury in a different 2021 game.
2021: 204-1,371-13. Per Foxsports had 5 fumbles.
2022: 233-1,713-19 with 5 fumbles. Averaged about 143 yards per game.
Career 7.3 rush average. Only had 5 receptions his entire college career for 29 yards.
Very poor fumble rate of one every 49 touches.
In addition to being the FBS leader in rushing yardage, he finished 4th in yards per carry in 2022. He was one of only 7 runners who had at least 7.0 YPC (Zach Charbonnet was one of the other ones.)
Sports Illustrated says he has a muscular frame, powerful stiff arm, finishes runs going forward, patient, good contact balance, great at yards after contact, a weight room warrior who squats 550 pounds. Unproven as receiver, uninspiring as pass blocker, linear and stiff as runner, no sudden cuts, rarely elusive in open field.
TDN says he has a punishing running style, an old school style, effective in short yardage, not explosive or dynamic. They think he's a short yardage specialist in the NFL.
ESPN 6th RB, 122nd overall (4th rd)
NFLDraftBuzz 13th RB, 141st overall (late 4th to 5th)
Draftcountdown (Shane Hallam) 12th RB, 133rd overall (late 4th)
NFLmockdraftdatabase simulator 11th RB, 110th overall (4th)
Drafttek 8th RB, 101st overall (late 3rd to 4th rd)
PFN simulator 24th RB, 254th overall (late 7th rd)
CBSSports 4th RB, 78th overall (3rd rd)
Sports Illustrated 6th round grade
When he sees an opening, will go into attack mode. Can drive through tackle attempts to gain extra yards.
Adequate speed to burst through holes up the middle and generate chunk plays.
Agility to skip around trash at his feet as he goes up middle.
Sees safeties coming at him in the open field and tries to evade them.
Can jump and turn his body to avoid tackle attempts in a fashion that makes me think of Gayle Sayers. Not done nearly as well as Sayers, who was poetry in motion, just in the general manner in which his limbs move.
Switches the ball to the proper arm as he heads towards open field.
Very productive in college, experience at being a lead RB. Scored a bunch of TDs, used both as starter and in the red zone near the GL.
If Spencer Brown is a PS level player and McBride is better than Brown, doesn't that mean the floor for McBride is at least an NFL PS?
Has good bulk and "good enough" speed, so maybe he could be used as a kick returner.
Has many technique issues, but perhaps many of those could be corrected with good coaching and more experience.
Not sudden or explosive. Sluggish pace of strides with sleepy feet. Doesn't have wiggle or elusiveness. OL created truck size hole and when RB goes through it, only the S is between him and the end zone, but his head and shoulder fake is ineffective, his body just traveling in a straight line, and the S is able to chop him down, preventing the TD.
Doesn't run behind his pads. Insufficient forward lean as a runner. Inconsistent pad level and often has upright body position as he gets to the LOS. This exposes his chest to big hits and also exposes the ball to being knocked out.
Doesn't tuck the ball tight to his chest. If he loses balance, it swings away from his body. Not quick shifting the ball from one arm to the other.
Poor balance. stumbles when making cuts in the backfield. When he stumbles, even if he stays up, it considerably slows him down, giving the defense an opportunity to tackle him or try to force a fumble. Falls down too much. Slipped and fell to ground trying to cutback. Fell down trying to make a cut.
Bad footwork in the backfield prevents him from escaping tackles or arrive at the LOS off balance and lacking power. Unable to squeeze through small openings at the line. Tripped over his lineman.
Poor vision approaching the LOS, makes odd lane choices. Doesn't anticipate holes developing on zone runs, causing him to be late making the cut. Zone run, it is very obvious that he should run between the G and the OT. Instead of flowing wide, the LB tries to go behind the C on the backside of the play. Instead of heading toward the open B gap, McBride angles towards the middle, as if he's blind and doesn't see the LB. He gets crushed, no gain instead of potentially creating a big run.
Blind to run blitz, surprised and tackled for loss, unprepared to stiff arm or cut to avoid the defender.
Zone run, both staying frontside or cutting it all the way back are viable choices, but instead he runs up the middle and gets stuffed at the LOS. Zone run, he's late to feel the cutback and collides with the back of his center.
On a zone run, a RB is supposed to make a decision and go. You can't change your mind in the middle. He started going towards the outside, decided the gap was going to close, then tried to cutback, causing him to become a sitting duck in the backfield.
When he's late reading the blocks on a zone run, it leads to him losing speed when he tries to cut.
No patience on gap runs. He'll run too fast and slam in to the back of his pulling blocker instead of allowing the blocks to develop. Or, he'll jump to the wrong side of the blocker.
Will completely abandon a gap run and try to freelance, heading off in another direction instead of following his blockers.
His OL pushed around some weak defenses and created big openings for him to run through. On a couple of his big runs, I thought the refs missed holding penalties committed by his OL. Other times, defenders made silly mistakes and got way out of position.
Only had 34 yards on 12 carries against LSU in 2022.
Doesn't sell fakes on play action or on counter runs. Lack of attention to detail.
Reluctant and unwilling pass blocker. Very poor effort, no strength as blocker, made ole attempts at hip checks on chip blocks. Had simplistic pass blocking duties.
Virtually no production as a receiver. Stiff going out to the flat. Lacks hip fluidity and flexibility to turn and catch passes, doesn't project to have much value as a receiver.
On very short 3rd down, hesitant against DB instead of being direct, then upright in pad level vs tackle, resulting in him only barely getting the first down on what should have been an extremely easy conversion.
He struggles with both zone and gap scheme run concepts, so I don't know if we can even call him a scheme limited player. He's just a limited player period, regardless of a team's scheme.
I'm not comfortable even labeling him a short yardage RB, because he has certain bad habits and traits that will hurt his ability to consistently convert in those situations in the NFL.
McBride has what I'd call "small school" traits. He has a ton of bad habits that he got away with at a lower level of competition, but if those don't get fixed, he's in for a rude awakening at the NFL level.
I know McBride piled up huge stats in 2022 and he's considered to be a middle round prospect. On some boards he's even a candidate to be a top 5 RB. To be honest, I'd question how diligently the experts have actually studied his game tape as opposed to just relied on highlight videos and statistics to create the draft rankings. To my eye, this player is overrated. I don't think he's nearly as good as you might think based on first impressions.