Re-evaluating Will McDonald and the NY Jets' 2023 draft class

A year later, how does the Jets' draft class stack up?
Will McDonald
Will McDonald / Al Pereira/GettyImages
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The 2023 NY Jets season was like getting your teeth pulled out at the dentist — painful. Alas, what's done is done and we've now just paid our bill with Joe Douglas recognizing our pain and filling the gaps.

The 2024 free agency period has been a grateful relief for Jets fans with additions like left tackle Tyron Smith and wide receiver Mike Williams.

It's no secret that Jets fans love draft season, mostly due to our consistent presence in the top 10 picks. With high expectations to fill remaining needs in the 2024 NFL Draft, the Jets have a multitude of options this year after filling their biggest needs in free agency.

When we think of the draft we often get caught up in the hype in the weeks and months leading up to the draft. A year goes on and we're already obsessed with the next group of players, which is why now is the perfect time to re-visit and re-grade the Jets 2023 draft.

Will McDonald, DE, NY Jets: Round 1, 15th overall

  • Grade: B

I have been angered recently over a lot of the things that have been said about Will McDonald from Jets fans. He didn't ask to be drafted by the Jets, he didn't ask to be drafted to a team that didn't necessarily need more edge rushers.

Heck, it's not McDonald's fault that the Jets didn't re-sign Bryce Huff a year earlier. While all of that is true, it has been rather disappointing that McDonald's opinion in the fan's minds is poor of him.

Blame Joe Douglas, regardless of what he says or thinks there are plenty of arguments to be made that he could've gone several different directions with last year's first-round pick. The fact is that McDonald is and will be on the Jets moving forward and his role will only expand.

While his playing time was low McDonald still managed to have three sacks and a forced fumble that he recovered. He has all the traits and, while limitedly, showed he can produce in this league one way or another.

Overall, we know that McDonald will play more this year and we have to wait and see how he does with more pass-rush reps. I give the grade a 'B' because while I certainly feel McDonald can be successful in this league, Douglas could've and should've drafted a bigger need with a theoretical full season of Aaron Rodgers under center.