The 2015 NFL Draft is loaded with talented wide receivers: Kevin White burned up the Combine, DeVante Parker shines on film, and Devin Smith won a National Championship. Mark Schofield goes off the beaten path to introduce William & Mary WR Tre McBride.
For three seasons Tre McBride has been a crucial presence in William & Mary’s offense. The wide receiver caught 55 passes his sophomore year for 897 yards and 10 scores. He followed up with 63 receptions for 801 yards and five touchdowns as a junior. McBride finished strong as a senior, hauling in 64 passes for 809 yards and four touchdowns, including an 11-catch, 209-yard effort against Villanova with two TD receptions.
The receiver showed his versatility by returning punts and kickoffs for the special teams unit. McBride comes from a military family, and his father (former Northeastern running back Doug McBride) is a Colonel in the United States Army who served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan while Tre was playing in both high school and college.
Tale of the Tape
McBride was a full participant in the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine. Standing 6’0” and weighing 210 pounds, with an arm length of 32 1/8 inches and a hand size of nine inches, he posted a 40-yard dash time of 4.41 seconds with a 10-yard split of 1.51 seconds.
McBride has no serious injury history, only missing one game in 2014 with an ankle injury.
What He Does Well
Editor’s Note: We try to find film from multiple games for each prospect but sometimes that is not possible, especially for FCS schools. However, the author is a W&M alumnus and has seen McBride play several times.
McBride is a gifted athlete, and shows tremendous confidence catching the football. He attacks the ball; his athleticism and aggressiveness enable receptions on throws other receivers cannot even touch. On this first play, McBride runs a deep out route from a slot alignment:
The receiver runs the route against Richmond’s Cover 3 “Buzz” coverage. As McBride breaks toward the sideline, he gains sufficient separation from the robber defender, Reggie Barnette (#37). The throw is high, but the receiver goes and gets it, snaring the ball with his hands fully extended.
Here, McBride executes another deep out route from a slot alignment, this time along the left sideline:
Similar to the first play, McBride gains sufficient separation from the defender off his break. Again the throw is over his head but the receiver high-points the pass in textbook fashion, attacking the football at its highest point in-flight before the defender can break up the play.
In this next sequence, McBride shows off some incredible body control:
He runs another out route, this time from a narrow split. Once more the throw is elevated, and to the inside as well, but McBride throttles down, twists his body back to the middle, and corrals the football. Even with his momentum taking him away from the path of the pigskin, this is an NFL-quality reception.
The play below showcases McBride’s ball-tracking ability:
From a slot alignment once again, this time the call is for a deep corner route. Quarterback Steve Cluley (#16) uses a designed rollout, moving to his left ‒ toward McBride ‒ before delivering the throw. Getting Cluley on the move increases the difficulty level for the receiver; as he comes out of his break, McBride must quickly identify where the throw is coming from, as the pass will be released from somewhere outside the pocket.
McBride finds the football, flattens out his route, and adjusts to the flight of the ball. He then leaps and extends horizontally to snare the pass before it hits the turf.
McBride’s gifts make him a very dangerous player in space. Here, he gets the ball on a quick screen and shakes a tackle for a solid 10-yard gain:
This is a good example of securing the throw and quickly attacking the secondary. McBride picks up a good block from his fellow receiver at the point of attack before making a defender miss en route to a fresh set of downs for the Tribe.
He is also a weapon on special teams:
On the kickoff return, the bounce of the football places McBride in a precarious position. The ball seems destined to head out of bounds after landing just inside the sideline, but somehow it stays in play down to the goal line. This forces McBride to try to advance the football from the goal line with the opposing coverage unit bearing down on him.
He displays patience rather than panic, letting his blockers set up. Once his lead blocker executes his hit, McBride makes a quick cut and races ahead. He makes two more defenders miss before being dragged down around the 22-yard line. Turning this near-disaster on special teams into a positive play makes scouts notice.
McBride does not shy away from contact and is a very willing blocker. Again lined up in the slot, he must crack down inside for this toss play. Receivers must love hearing this play called in the huddle, as they get a chance to cut inside and deliver a shot to a safety or linebacker:
McBride identifies his target and “makes himself wide” – with feet set wide below him – before engaging the opponent. McBride fights with the defensive back and, once the defender sheds the receiver, the WR finds a secondary target and delivers a strong block that sends him sprawling.
Level of Competition
McBride will face concerns over the talent level he faced during his collegiate career at the FCS level. Any bad habits or flaws in his game will become magnified. For example, some scouts and draftniks question McBride’s ability to gain separation from defenders.
McBride tends to round off routes, making circular breaks rather than sharp cuts. This carries him deeper downfield, bringing him closer to nearby defenders and negating any separation he may have created. Crisper route running at his Pro Day may alleviate any concerns over his ability to separate from coverage.
While McBride put on a catching clinic for most of the game against Richmond, his hands failed him late in the contest. On this first play the fourth quarter has just begun and the Tribe trails by seven:
McBride is the outside slot receiver and runs a curl route breaking to the inside. The throw from Cluley is high but catchable. McBride fails to bring in the football and the pass is nearly intercepted off the carom.
This next play finds his team trailing by 14 with just over seven minutes remaining in the game. McBride runs another curl route from a slot to the right:
Again, the pass is high but catchable, and the receiver fails to pull down the ball. Both of these throws were somewhat challenging, but an NFL receiver would be expected to secure them.
Pierre Garçon – McBride and Garçon have similar builds and physical traits, both posting 40-yard times in the 4.4 range. Like Garçon, McBride is effective over the middle and along the sidelines.
McBride helped himself this offseason, performing well at the East-West Shrine Game both in practices and in the actual contest where he caught two passes for 23 yards. His NFL Combine performance was also solid, especially his 40-yard dash time. While the wide receiver pool is deep, McBride is likely to be drafted, probably in the third round, but his stock is definitely rising.
Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.