New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas remained consistent through the pre-draft process that building through the trenches was the main goal for the organization.
The team solidified that thought process with the selection of Will McDonald with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft Thursday night in Kansas City.
The 23-year-old out of Iowa State was one of the better run defenders in college football last season. Over the last three seasons, McDonald had been one of the most productive pass rushers in college football and in the Big 12. Through the last three seasons, the Big 12 star has totaled 33 sacks. Pro Football Focus graded out the edge rusher to an elite 79.2
McDonald now joins a defensive line with stars like First-Team All-Pro Quinnen Williams, and last year’s first-round selection and Jermaine Johnson. The drafting of the defensive end is the fourth interior player that Douglas has selected in the first round since being hired in 2019.
There had been rumors that New York was interested in bringing in an offensive lineman following the trade for Aaron Rodgers, however, the top tackle available was selected just one pick before when the Pittsburgh Steelers traded up to take Georgia standout Broderick Jones. The Jets could have also taken other young defensive line prospects such as Nolan Smith, and Calijah Kancey.
Instead, McDonald’s bend will fit well with how Robert Saleh’s defense will be looking to run. With an emphasis on fit over intangibles, New York has made their first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.
They will have their next selection on Friday night with the 43rd overall selection.
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