The Jets selected Iowa defensive end Will McDonald fourth with the 15th overall pick of the NFL Draft Thursday night.
McDonald was a late bloomer, and started playing soccer his junior year of high school. But he made up for lost time building his reputation as a first-class tackle with 34 career sacks.
“I’m going to bring everything I can to the Jets,” McDonald told Jets Media shortly after his selection, whether that’s playing special teams, being a player, or doing whatever I have to do. There was a lot of things that I learned at Iowa, I learned a lot of poise. I’ve been with my good mates, doing what I can do.”
Two of these ISU products welcome him to the Jets. He played three seasons with RB Breece Hall as a sophomore and came to school in 2018, a year after WR Allen Lazard ended his college career, he went to the Packers as an undrafted free agent, and recently signed as a free agent with the Jets.
“Bryce and Aline are my two boys. I’m so excited,” MacDonald said. “I can definitely say Bryce taught me a lot and helped me evolve into the man I am today. It’s such an honor to be back with my friends.”
Likewise General Manager Joe Douglas and Coach Robert Salih are honored to welcome him to their team.
“We are excited to add Will to the team,” said Douglas. “We feel he’s one of the most, if not the most dynamic pass catchers in this draft. I think that was on full display in the Senior Ball….” Not to speak for the coach, but he’ll be buzzing off the edge, using every That length and speed that God gave.”
“You know how we are in our rotation on the D line, making sure everyone touches the field,” Saleh said. We come to you in waves. And with Aaron [Rodgers] Here, we’ll play with a few late leads, which gives us more opportunities to speed up the passer. Will has a unique ability to catch a corner.”
McDonald (6-3, 239) started 12 games for the Hurricanes last season and earned first-team All-Big 12 honors. He totaled 36 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, a team-leading five sacks, a forced fumble and four pass defenses.
In 2021, the Milwaukee native was named a First Team All-American, First Team All-Big 12 and Big 12 Co-Defensive Lineman of the Year while leading the team with 11.5 sacks, 14 TFLs and five forced fumbles.
McDonald played in parts or all of the Hurricanes’ five seasons, the last two as a starter. He finished with 54 games and 23 starts, 123 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 34 sacks, 10 forced fumbles and eight pass defenses.
His 34 sacks rank first in school history, are tied for the most in the Big 12, and are one more than Von Miller’s 33 removals by a QB.
McDonald is the Jets’ ninth all-time draft pick outside of Iowa and comes to the Green & White one year after Hall was selected out of ISU in the second round last year. Along with Hall, the Jets earned an extra season start from both DE Kenny Neil (1981, seventh round, 169th overall) and DT James Reed (2001, seventh round, 206th overall).
The 15th overall pick, which the Jets got from Green Bay in Rodgers’ trade package, is the highest pick the team has ever used to draft a Hurricane, ahead of Hall’s 36th pick last year.
The Jets are then scheduled to be selected in the second round (No. 43 overall) and have three picks on the third day – No. 112 (Round 4), No. 143 (Round 5), and No. 170 (Round 5).
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