Big 12 News

Will McDonald Selected No. 15 by New York Jets in NFL Draft

Iowa State EDGE rusher Will McDonald is off the board. The New York Jets selected him with the No. 15 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft Thursday night in Kansas City.

“McDonald is an explosive, pliable edge talent whose active hands and eager feet make it hard for tackles to get a firm grip on him,” wrote NFL.com Analyst Lance Zierlein in his evaluation of the former Cyclones star. “His burst and lower-body flexion give him an advantage at the top of the rush, while his spin moves and feel for pocket depth round out his attack. He has good strength for his size and plays with admirable contact balance against bigger players, but setting firm edges and holding his ground against a downhill running attack could be an issue.

“Overall, McDonald’s hard-nosed demeanor and pass-rush talent are winning play traits that will help him become a successful 3-4 outside linebacker and sack artist.

CBS Sports’ Josh Edwards, however, emphasized his concerns about McDonald at the next level that center around some of what Zierlein mentioned, listing him among his six buyer beware prospects.

“McDonald is lauded for his work as an edge rusher, which is valuable in today’s game. The fear is that he will not hold up in run support,” Edwards wrote. “He has to prove that he can be trusted in early down situations or else a team is investing a first-round pick into a situational pass rusher asked to play 20-25 snaps a game.”

 

But projections are just that, projections. The Jets believed in McDonald enough to select him with the No. 15 pick and insert the pass rusher into their defense. He’s the third Big 12 player taken, joining Texas Tech Red Raiders EDGE rusher Tyree Wilson (Las Vegas Raiders, No. 7) and Texas Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson (Atlanta Falcons, No. 8).

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