Explosive RB Prospect Set to Visit Vikings

Explosive RB Prospect to Visit Vikings
Nov 13, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) celebrates after running for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Interestingly enough, the Minnesota Vikings have been rather inquisitive about the 2023 NFL Draft’s class at the running back position. This is likely due to the uncertainty around veteran starter Dalvin Cook, who could be either traded or cut at some point this summer due to his massive cap hit.

On Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that another explosive RB prospect, DeWayne McBride out of UAB, is visiting the Vikings as well.

Nov 13, 2021; Huntington, West Virginia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) runs the ball against the Marshall Thundering Herd during the fourth quarter at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

McBride has been one of the nation’s most productive running backs over the past two seasons, totaling 3084 rushing yards and 32 rushing TDs. Over his three seasons at UAB, he was one of the most efficient backs in the entire NCAA too, averaging a ridiculous 7.3 yards per carry. That rushing average is the 11th-best in the NCAA since 1956.

In 2022, the UAB workhorse totaled 1713 rushing yards and 19 rushing TDs in 12 games, meaning he averaged nearly 143 yards per game. He placed second in the NCAA during the season for rushing yards, third in yards per carry, and third in rushing touchdowns.

Dec 18, 2021; Shreveport, LA, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) breaks a tackle against BYU Cougars linebacker Max Tooley (31) during the fourth quarter during the 2021 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Granted, McBride spent his collegiate career playing in Conference USA, and he wasn’t necessarily going up against some of the top competition in the country. This past season, he struggled against LSU, rushing 13 times for just 34 yards and a touchdown.

That being said, McBride has a sturdy running back’s frame at 5’10 and 209 pounds. He’s a strong athlete, with an unofficial 40-yard dash in the low 4.5s. He has terrific balance, and like some of the top backs in this class, he can bounce off tacklers to pick up yards after contact.

Sep 11, 2021; Athens, Georgia, USA; UAB Blazers running back DeWayne McBride (22) is tackled by Georgia Bulldogs inside linebacker Nakobe Dean (17) and defensive lineman Travon Walker (44) during the first half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via USA TODAY NETWORK

The biggest knock on McBride as a prospect has to do with his receiving ability. Especially with players like Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs, and Zach Charbonnet at the top of the class with strong receiving capabilities, this will inevitably cause the Blazers product to fall down draft boards.

Overall, if the Vikings enter Day 3 still looking to select an RB, McBride makes sense because of his strong playmaking ability as a rusher, and this visit is further proof that Minnesota may not be entirely content with their current running back room.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.