Re-grading NY Jets' 2023 NFL Draft class after one year

What does the Jets' 2023 draft class look like after one year?

Will McDonald
Will McDonald / Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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It was always going to be difficult to follow up the historic success of the NY Jets' 2022 NFL Draft class. It's not every year your team finds four genuine blue-chip talents in the same draft class.

Expecting the Jets to replicate their 2022 success in 2023, especially given their lack of draft capital in comparison, was never wise. That said, it's fair to raise some questions about the Jets' draft decisions from a year ago.

As always, it's never fair to grade a draft class after just one season, especially when the majority of players on this list didn't see much action. Still, we can give preliminary grades with the understand that a lot can still change.

These grades will primarily be based on what each player did in their first season with the Jets as well as how their future projects after one year. Let's take a look at our re-grade of the Jets' 2023 draft class.

Will McDonald, DE, NY Jets - Round 1, Pick 15

The Jets stunned most fans with the selection of Will McDonald in the first round of last year's draft, and one year later the pick doesn't look much better. As always, a lot can change here. By no means should anyone be writing off McDonald as a bad pick just yet.

That said, it's very fair to question the Jets' approach here. The Jets drafted McDonald with the expectation that he would replace Bryce Huff (and Carl Lawson) in a year's time. Despite Huff's breakout season, the Jets let him walk in free agency, presumably to give McDonald a larger role in 2024.

That doesn't seem likely now, however, following the Haason Reddick trade. If Reddick is extended, the Jets will commit to the fact that McDonald will be a backup for the entirety of his rookie contract.

As it stands now, it's hard to envision a scenario in which McDonald's playing time significantly increases in the near future barring injury. Combine that with the fact that he already turns 25 years old in June and there are a lot of questions about this pick.

The Jets could've drafted someone like Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers, etc., allowing the team to address a position of need. Instead, they drafted their fourth-string pass rusher who has no obvious path to playing time. McDonald — through no fault of his own — still has a lot to prove.

Grade: C-