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NFL Draft Profile: Will McDonald

School: Iowa State

Position: EDGE

Year: Redshirt Senior

The Good: Aside from his relatively slender weight of 240lbs, McDonald looks like he was created in a lab for pass rushers. He somehow has 35” arms despite average height, and his broad jump of 11’ ranks within the Top 10 all-time for EDGE prospects. He’s a total specimen, and his tools translated to on-field production at Iowa State with 34 sacks across his 4+ seasons with the Cyclones. McDonald is explosive off the edge and has great bend around the corner, and he has a strong knack to strip QBs too (10 forced fumbles in his college career). With agile hands and feet, McDonald possesses an advanced set of rush moves for an EDGE just entering the NFL.

The Bad: It’s a good thing that McDonald is such an advanced pass rusher, because he offers next-to-nothing as a run defender. I know that’s harsh, but McDonald just really isn’t cut out for it at the NFL level. ISU didn’t even include him in goal line and heavier personnel packages. His pad level is inconsistent and it looks like he uses everything in his power just to sustain a typical run block on the edge. If he gets locked up in a block, nothing good is coming after that. McDonald needs more consistency as a pass rusher too; a high percentage of his attempts don’t register even close to pressures. You usually like to see high-end speed and power from an EDGE prospect entering the Draft, but McDonald doesn’t really have either.

The Bottom Line: The good news for Will McDonald is that there exists a clear-cut role on NFL rosters that perfectly aligns with his skillset. The bad news is that role is one of a specialist, which alone just about disqualifies McDonald from Round 1 consideration in my book. He’s also going to turn 24 before Week 1 of the next NFL season, and he didn’t exactly dominate as a super senior in the Big 12. (Though McDonald did look dominant at the Senior Bowl.) If McDonald continues to discover and perfect niche rush moves that allow him to win against all types of OTs, then he could have a surprisingly long career. But if this current version of him is the final version of his football development, then it could be a quick NFL stint.

Grade: Late Second Round / Early Third Round

Pro Comp: Bruce Irvin

Games Watched:

  • Kansas State 2021
  • Clemson 2021
  • Baylor 2022
  • Texas 2022
  • TCU 2022
  • Senior Bowl

Plays That Matter [LINK]


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