Trey McBride taking Cardinals’ TEs room under his wing early on in Year 2

May 29, 2023, 7:10 AM

Former general manager Steve Keim and the Arizona Cardinals raised a few eyebrows last year with their second-round pick of Colorado tight end Trey McBride.

Zach Ertz sat atop the depth chart at tight end, and the room appeared pretty set with a handful of bigger needs on the roster.

After McBride earned a healthy scratch in Week 1, there were even more questions as to how Arizona was going to utilize the young pass catcher.

Slowly but surely, though, Arizona worked him into the offense over next eight weeks of the season, primarily as a blocking tight end.

That was until a season-ending injury to Ertz thrust McBride into the offensive gameplan. After posting three catches for eight yards in his first eight contests, McBride saw his production balloon to 26 receptions for 241 yards and a touchdown in the final eight games (all starts).

It wasn’t the circumstance McBride envisioned, but it was a chance to get his feet wet as a rookie.

Now, he’s working on taking another step as a young pro as Ertz continues on his path back to full strength.

“With Zach absent right now, I’m trying to take that room under (my wing),” McBride told Arizona Sports’ Wolf & Luke on Thursday. “I feel like I’m a leader and can be a leader on this team. That’s what I’m trying to do, lead that tight ends room and make sure we’re one of the best tight end rooms in the NFL.

“I’ve had to step up. I’ve kind of got to be that guy right now until Zach comes back, but it’s been a lot of fun trying to lead those guys,” McBride added. “We’re all trying to learn the same new offense together and just helping each other out.”

Despite McBride entering his second NFL season, he already has more game experience under his belt that every other tight end in the room outside of the injured Ertz.

That along with his abilities as a pass catcher make McBride the clear-cut answer at the position if Ertz’s rehab extends into the regular season.

And even if Ertz does make it back by the time the season opener rolls around, McBride has the blocking and pass-catching abilities to still make an impact offensively.

Those traits were more than evident during his final season at Colorado, which included 90 catches for 1,121 yards and a touchdown across 12 games played. By many draft analysts, he was the best tight end in his rookie class.

That’s not to say there won’t be more growing pains in 2023.

In addition to putting more on his plate in the tight ends room and offensively, McBride has the added hurdle of working in a new offense with a new regime at the helm.

It’s all just a part of the journey in McBride’s eyes.

“It’s a lot of learning, a lot of new faces around here but it’s been an awesome experience. I’m learning a lot,” McBride said. “I’m really starting to get the hang of this offense a little bit.

“It’s been cool meeting all the new coaches and getting around all the guys and just playing football again. Can’t ask for much more than that.”

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