With the initial craze of free agency now behind us, it is time to look forward to the 2022 NFL Draft. The Baltimore Ravens currently have 10 picks, including the No. 14 overall pick — their highest since drafting All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in 2016.
One of the team’s under-the-radar remaining needs is at tight end. The Ravens need a complementary pass-catching threat at the position to take some pressure and attention off of First-Team All-Pro Mark Andrews.
The top prospect at the position in this year’s draft, who is the all-around complete package from a pass-catching and blocking standpoint, is Trey McBride out of Colorado State. He earned the consensus No. 1 ranking in the eyes of countless analysts and pundits after breaking out in 2021 and winning the John Mackey Award given to the best top tight in college football.
In his senior season alone, McBride surpassed the combined total of his first three years in receptions with 91 and in receiving yards with 1,125. He was the focal point and the primary pass-catching threat for the Rams’ offense last year and was a beast both after the catch and after contact.
Trey McBride since 2019:— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) February 20, 2022
158 catches (t-1st among FBS TEs)
2,015 yards (2nd)
870 yards after catch (1st)
409 yards after contact (1st)pic.twitter.com/cPVK79ovWZ
He is tough to bring down in the open field once he builds momentum. While his stiff arm isn’t quite on Derrick Henry’s level — no one’s really is — it is still devastating nonetheless and helps him toss would-be-tacklers to the turf.
The only major statistical category that he didn’t set a career-high in was touchdowns, as he only found the end zone once in 2021. However, that might have been a reflection of the extra attention he garnered in the red zone from opposing defenses once the field became more condensed.
Speed and separation aren’t the names of his game but he makes good adjustments to the ball when it’s in the air, has strong hands and regularly comes down with contested catches with defenders tight in coverage. He displayed those skills during the week of practice at the 2022 Reese’s Senior Bowl and reeled in a touchdown in the all-star game.
Hell of an adjustment and catch by Trey McBride pic.twitter.com/1NMXitlAqO— Billy M (@BillyM_91) February 2, 2022
He can gain separation at the top of his routes, understands the concepts of how to settle and find the soft spots in zone coverage, and makes tough grabs in traffic over the middle.
McBride can be a mauler of a blocker in the run game and takes pride in it, making him more than capable of handling the non-route running inline duties of a traditional Y tight end. He possesses functional play strength and uses good width in his base while executing blocks.
Trey McBride can handle the Y-TE duties vs DEs that outweigh him by 20lbs…— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 19, 2022
He lacks explosiveness off the line of scrimmage into his routes and lacks the speed to consistently threaten the seam vertically — but makes up for it with his other alluring traits. His playing style is reminiscent of retired 11-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten and he’d be a more than adequate replacement for Hayden Hurst, who the team has been trying to replace since trading him away in the 2020 offseason.
The likelihood of McBride landing with the Ravens in the range he is expected to come off the board is not high. The Ravens have other pressing needs and the odds of a more highly rated player at one of the premium positions being there for the taking is very likely.
Taking McBride with the No. 45 overall selection is too steep but if he were to fall to them at No. 76 overall, the allure might be too enticing to pass up.