Getty Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports projected the Indianapolis Colts would select tight end Trey McBride in the second round.
With less than 10 days until the start of the 2022 NFL Draft, the general consensus around the Indianapolis Colts is that general manager Chris Ballard will pick a wide receiver or offensive tackle when the team makes its first pick at No. .42 overall.
But sportswriter Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports doesn’t share that opinion.
In his latest mock draft released on April 18, Wilson projected the Colts would select Colorado State tight end Trey McBride.
During his senior year last fall, McBride led Colorado State with 90 receptions and 1,121 receiving yards. Not only did the Rams pass receiver have half as many receptions or receiving yards as McBride last season. He also scored a touchdown.
McBride recorded 164 receptions, 2,100 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns in 40 games during his college career.
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Trey McBride compared to two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper
In the 2021 NFL Draft, Atlanta Falcons playmaker Kyle Pitts made history as the first tight end to finish fourth overall. But in this year’s class, there’s no generational talent like Pitts at tight end.
In fact, in Wilson’s mock draft, McBride was the first tight end off the Colts’ board at No. 42 overall.
NFL analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com compared McBride to tight end Austin Hooper. A six-year veteran, Hooper made the Pro Bowl with the Falcons in 2018 and 2019. He set career highs of 75 receptions, 787 receiving yards and six touchdowns during 2019.
“Two-way tight end with the size, strength and ball skills to help impact games online and in space,” Zierlein wrote. “McBride has room to improve at the point of attack, but he has the thickness and determination of a true line blocker.
“McBride lacks top speed and quickness on the route, but he can break the route and has the body control and sticky hands to win close catch battles.”
Draft scouts from ESPN, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus ranked McBride as the best or No. 2 tight end in the 2022 draft class.
Ironically, Bleacher Report gave him the highest overall ranking, as the No. 52 best player. But B/R ranked him second at tight end behind Ohio State’s Jeremy Ruckert.
ESPN and PFF ranked him the best overall tight end in the class and the No. 59 and 64 overall player, respectively.
“McBride ran a pro-style route tree at Colorado State and does a good job of leveraging his routes on tape,” ESPN analyst Steve Muench wrote. “McBride has the speed to make plays and he’s strong after the catch. He is a functional blocker.”
While the Colorado State tight end won’t be a first-round pick, Zierlein wrote that he should be an attractive prospect on Day 2.
“McBride is solid through all phases and should appeal to any team looking for a tight end combination with early-start potential.”
Colts need on tight end
On the first day of NFL free agency on March 14, the Colts re-signed veteran tight end Mo Alie-Cox. Bringing Alie-Cox back early in free agency was key for Indianapolis after fellow veteran tight end Jack Doyle announced his retirement on March 7.
In seven starts last season, Alie-Cox had 24 receptions for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
Alie-Cox played 54.72% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps last season, but Doyle actually led Colts tight ends in that category, lining up for 57.77% of the team’s offensive snaps.
The Colts also have needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle, but drafting McBride would help offset the loss of Doyle.
McBride could also be a target for quarterback Matt Ryan in the passing game. Aside from Michael Pittman, the Colts don’t have another pass catcher who racked up 400-plus receiving yards last season.
Whether at tight end or wide receiver, Indianapolis is expected to add young outside talent to help shift attention away from Pittman in the passing game.
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