One prospect who may interest the Denver Broncos on day three of the 2023 NFL Draft is UAB running back DeWayne McBride. He is a 5’10”, 209-pound running back who has the potential to be a late-round steal for whoever drafts him. The Athletic’s draft analyst Dane Brugler has McBride ranked as his 13th-best running back in this last draft and has a 4th-round grade on him.
McBride played a total of three seasons at UAB and was a productive starter for them during the past two seasons. During his three-year career at UAB, he totaled 484 carries for 3,523 yards, 36 touchdowns, and averaged 7.3 yards per carry. He also had 5 career receptions for 29 yards. This past season for UAB, he totaled 233 carries for 1,713 yards, 19 rushing touchdowns, and averaged an impressive 7.4 yards per carry.
DeWayne McBride vs Conference USA defenders was not particularly fair pic.twitter.com/tu9dbhE7m4— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) April 8, 2023
Weight: 209 pounds
40-time: N/A because of a right hamstring injury
Arm Length: 30 5/8 inches
Hands: 9 1⁄2 inches
Bench Press: 20 reps
- A very productive runner who found the end zone 31 times these past two seasons
- A physical runner who displays great contact balance
- Good pad level and leg drive to consistently push the pile
- Good vision and is able to read the field well and find the open running lanes
- Quick and good short-area acceleration
- Patient runner who waits to find an opening on the line
- Can make defenders miss in the open field
- Has a nose for the end zone
- Likely a scheme-diverse back but probably best suited for a zone-running scheme
- A competitive player with no off-the-field concerns
- Ball security issues and has 9 fumbles combined over the past two seasons
- Lacks top-end speed
- Had 5 career catches while at UAB and is an unproven receiving threat
- Lacks third-down appeal because of his lack of blocking and receiving skills
- Did well against lower-level teams but struggled against but struggled against LSU an SEC team
- Did no offseason athletic testing because of a right hamstring injury
What other analysts are saying about UAB running back DeWayne McBride
A two-year starter at UAB, McBride was a record-setting back in former offensive coordinator Bryant Vincent’s outside zone scheme. After an impressive sophomore season, he led the FBS in rushing yards per game (155.7) and per carry (7.4) in 2022, setting numerous UAB records, including rushing yards in a season (1,713) and game (272). With his compact build and shifty feet, McBride absorbs contact well with knee-bend and toughness to quickly regain his balance (his 4.6 yards post-contact ranked No. 1 in the FBS in 2022). Though he has instinctive run qualities, his lower body and eyes aren’t always synced up, and his ordinary burst and long speed will be more noticeable vs. NFL defenses. Overall, McBride is unproven as a pass catcher and blocker, which might restrict his NFL role, but his contact balance, vision and lateral agility are among the best this running back draft class has to offer. He projects best in a zone scheme. - The Athletic’s Dane Brugler
Productive runner with the physical/athletic attributes that could create an upward trajectory in the right situation. McBride is experienced and comfortable running in all blocking schemes. He’s smooth-hipped and runs with a good blend of shiftiness, and power. He would benefit from a quicker tempo and decisiveness inside. He must eliminate ball security issues or he could end up falling out of favor quickly. McBride’s lack of third down value could hurt his draft slotting, but his upside is worth a Day 3 selection. - NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein
There is potential with McBride but also some concerns that may not make him a great fit with the Broncos. First, he was a very productive runner at UAB but was playing against non-NFL talent on a weekly basis. So the rise in talent will be big and that is always a hurdle for these small school backs who were productive against lesser talent in college. With that said, he looks like your classic early down one cut downhill zone runner. He has great vision and a good enough burst to accelerate through the hole and into the second level. That alone puts him on the radar with NFL teams.
However, his lack of third-down qualities is a red flag, especially when it comes to the Broncos. Head coach Sean Payton likes using the running back in the passing game and obviously being able to block on third downs is key as well. McBride has yet to prove that he can do either of those things consistently. Now, if the Broncos and Payton think he can learn these traits, then this will not be an issue, but we have to wait and see when it comes to that.
Purely as a runner, I do like McBride as a prospect. He has potential in a zone-blocking scheme as an early down runner and how he develops his third down game will ultimately define his NFL career. He is projected to go in the late third to early/mid-fourth round right now, so we will see if the Broncos will select the productive back.