Arizona Cardinals tight end Trey McBride rightfully earns special recognition

Arizona Cardinals Trey McBride is slowly becoming one of the NFL’s most dominant tight ends, and the respected platform PFF has given him special recognition.
Dec 3, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end trey McBride (85) outpaces
Dec 3, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Arizona Cardinals tight end trey McBride (85) outpaces / Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

When you are a 3-10 team, you are undoubtedly one of the league’s worst record-wise, but it doesn’t mean you have a depleted roster full of no-name players. Kyler Murray will be the face of the franchise for as long as he’s a member of the Arizona Cardinals, while Jalen Thompson and Budda Baker are household names. 

Trey McBride is another cornerstone who has recently joined that group, having amassed 56 catches on 74 targets for 610 yards, two touchdowns, and 10.9 yards per catch. We can only wonder what McBride’s numbers would have looked like this season had a) Kyler Murray been healthy all season and b) had the Cards done the right thing and started McBride over the aging Zach Ertz. 

But the ‘what-ifs’ didn’t stop PFF from listing McBride on their “All-Improved Team”. Of course, PFF makes these lists based on grades instead of pure statistics in an attempt to rate players based on their overall performance instead of just a decent stat line. While McBride posted promising statistics in the back half of last season, his overall grade rested at an uninspiring 50.9, so it was a mystery of how well he would fare overall for many outside the Cardinals circles.

Arizona Cardinals tight end dramatically improves PFF grade in 2023

This season, McBride ranks at a solid 79.3, so he’s been doing more than just catching passes thrown his way. Just how good has McBride been across the past six weeks? Check out what PFF had to say about the second-year player who won the John Mackey Award while at Colorado State:

"“Since he took over as a starter in Week 8, McBride has more targets (53) and catches (41) than any tight end in the NFL, also racking up the second-most yards (440). He has proven to be a reliable chain-mover while flashing the ability to create after the catch. He looks like the real deal.”"

Thomas Valentine

Source: 2023 NFL All-Improved Team: Dak Prescott, Jaylon Johnson and more by Thomas Valentine, PFF

PFF’s aforementioned quote should tell us all we need to know about how effective McBride has been since becoming the top target at the position, and that he’s more than worthy of seeing his name on a list that includes the likes of Dak Prescott, Brandon Aiyuk, and Penei Sewell, to name a few. Depending on what happens in the offseason, McBride could also find himself as the Arizona Cardinals primary pass-catcher in 2024 and beyond, and if not, he will at least maintain an important role in the offense going forward. 


(Additional statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)