Analyzing how Will McDonald fits into the NY Jets defense

NY Jets, Will McDonald
NY Jets, Will McDonald / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

The NY Jets selected Iowa State edge rusher Will McDonald IV with the 15th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. This one was a bit of a headscratcher, with the likes of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Dalton Kincaid, Calijah Kancey, and Nolan Smith still available, it certainly seemed odd. However, make no mistake about it, McDonald is an incredibly talented player

McDonald is a stud in every aspect of the word. He is a three-time first-team All-Big 12 selection Over the course of his time in Ames, Iowa, McDonald set the school record for sacks with 11.5 in a single season (2021), and the year prior he tied the record with 10.5.

In 2021, he was also named Big-12 co-Defensive Lineman of the Year. McDonald should slot in as a rotational edge rusher with the Jets, but how exactly does he fit into the team's defense?

What role could Will McDonald play in the NY Jets' defense?

ESPN described McDonald as a "long and explosive edge rusher with good bend and closing burst." He's a speedy guy who can use moves to get to the quarterback and disrupt passes very easily.

Playing in a conference with a lot of good quarterbacks, it makes sense to load up on pass rushers. Looking ahead to this season, McDonald could compete with someone like Carl Lawson for reps on passing downs.

The Jets' current defensive ends are Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, Jermaine Johnson, Bryce Huff, Micheal Clemons, and Bradlee Anaee. McDonald should fit in well with this group, and with the impending free-agent decisions facing Lawson and Huff at the end of next season, McDonald could very well be a pick for the future of the Jets' defense.

All in all, McDonald may not have been the first choice, or even in the first three choices, for many Jets fans. That said, expect McDonald to still make an impact for the Jets in year one.

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Although the Jets' defensive line is already stacked, this pick gives the Jets some quality depth and could give the team some security for the next couple of years to come. Welcome to the New York Jets, Will McDonald!