With the 15th pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the New York Jets selected Iowa State Edge Rusher Will McDonald IV. While McDonald was regularly mocked in round 1, he was not often mocked to the Jets and, thus, fans of his new team may be a bit unfamiliar with him. This article is intended to provide some extra context and information about this Jets’ selection by discussing his analytical profile.
Will McDonald IV
Age: 23 (born June 4, 1999, so he will be 24 by opening day)
Relative Athletic Score: McDonald tested very well but came in on the shorter and lighter side. This likely means that he will have to put on weight at the next level in order to play on the edge. Moreover, of particular note is his 3-cone drill, where he clocked in at 6.85, well below the 7.00 threshold that is considered a strong predictor of edge rusher success. While not factored into the RAS calculation, McDonald also has very long arms that are 90th percentile among edge rushers.
Will McDonald IV is a DE prospect in the 2023 draft class. He scored a 9.66 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 56 out of 1605 DE from 1987 to 2023. https://t.co/b2DexfV4f4 #RAS pic.twitter.com/m7L7mMJDuW— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 4, 2023
Career stats through 48 games across 5 seasons (2022 stats in parentheses):
- 80 solo tackles (23)
- 45 assisted tackles (13)
- 40.5 tackles for a loss (7.5)
- 34 sacks (5.0)
- 10 forced fumbles (1)
- 7 pass defended (4)
Overall, we see McDonald was a productive college player, particularly as a pass rusher. However, his 2022 performance was a bit less productive than his previous seasons.
2022 Performance per ProFootballFocus:
- Overall grade: 79.2
- Pass rush grade: 84.2
- True pass set pass rush grade: 92.1
- Pass rush win rate: 16.8%
- Run defense grade: 70.7
- Run-stop rate: 7.0%
Overall, at least according to PFF, McDonald was a great pass rusher, but a rather mediocre run defender.
McDonald was a productive pass rusher at Iowa State despite being a bit undersized. However, this issue around size was more apparent in the run game, where he is generally regarded as a less effective player, which does appear to be reflected in his counting stats and PFF grades. Overall, the Jets are likely hoping that McDonald can add weight while keeping his plus athleticism and, in turn, emerging as a premier edge player. As fans, we can only hope the Jets were right in their evaluation.
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