4 Major Traits To Know About Jets’ Rookie Will McDonald IV

Will McDonald IV, Jets
NFL Analysis Network

The New York Jets were trumped once again by the New England Patriots during the 2023 NFL Draft. Owners of the No. 15 overall pick, New York was reportedly looking to select an offensive lineman with their selection. Knowing that the Patriots traded back with a team that was in the market for an offensive lineman as well.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were the willing trade participant, moving up from No. 17. It only cost a fourth-round pick as the Patriots, according to an NFL executive that spoke to The Washington Post, wanted to do everything they could to stick it to the Jets.

Bill Belichick succeeded in that, leaving Joe Douglas and the Jets having to go further down their draft board. But, they still came away with a player that they liked, selecting edge rusher Will McDonald IV out of Iowa State.

There was a lot to like about McDonald as a prospect, which was laid out by CBS Sports in their scouting report of him. Here are four traits that likely drew New York to McDonald during the pre-draft process.

  • Flashes of bend are elite
  • Serious length, which gives him huge advantage at point of attack
  • Smooth athleticism allows him to glide all over the field
  • Good pass-rush moves, knows how to get skinny through a gap

Those pass-rushing traits laid out by CBS Sports were on full display throughout his five-year career with the Cyclones. He had 40.5 tackles for loss and 34 sacks in 48 games, getting into the opponent’s backfield with regularity.

The unorthodox defensive alignment that Iowa State deploys could lead to McDonald needing some adjustment time in the NFL. But, at the very least, McDonald will be in a rotation early on opposite of Carl Lawson.

While some analysts didn’t believe an edge rusher was the most pressing need for the Jets when they came on the clock, the team stuck to their board after the player they were targeting, Broderick Jones, was selected right before them. You can never have too many pass rushers as New York’s pass rush should remain potent deep into games with the depth they can rotate in.