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Cowboys draft 2023: Defensive end Will McDonald IV scouting report

Scouting report series on this year’s draft prospects with player projections and comparisons. This review is of Iowa State Cyclones Will McDonald IV.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 02 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We continue with our 2023 NFL Draft draft prospect review of players that could interest the Dallas Cowboys. Today we look at a defensive end Will McDonald IV from Iowa State Cyclones.


Previous prospect reviews:

DT Bryan Bresee
CB Kelee Ringo
LB Andre Carter II
CB Joey Porter Jr
WR Jalin Hyatt
OG O’Cyrus Torrence
RB Bijan Robinson
C John Michael Schmitz
RB Devon Achane
CB Devon Witherspoon
RB Jahmyr Gibbs
TE Darnell Washington
DT Calijah Kancey


Will McDonald IV was given a 3-star recruit rating from 247 Sports coming out of high school. He only got two offers and decided to sign with Iowa State in 2018.

In McDonald’s freshman year he only played 13 snaps. During the small action he got to play in, McDonald IV managed to make three tackles, one tackle-for-loss, one sack and one forced fumble. It was an impressive start on just a small sample size.

In 2019 as a sophomore McDonald had an increased role playing in 118 snaps on defense. He made 15 tackles and six tackle-for-loss while playing almost exclusively on the edge. He also added 21 pressures, six sacks and one forced fumble.

In McDonald’s junior year, he once again saw an increased role playing this time in 284 defensive snaps. He recorded 35 tackles and 13 TFL. On pass plays McDonald IV also added 26 pressures, 10.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.

In his senior season in 2021, McDonald IV played 453 snaps in defense. This was his best season while playing for the Cyclones. He recorded 36 tackles along with 13 TFL. As a pass rusher he created 41 pressures, 11.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. In Week 10 against the Texas Longhorns he played his best game. He had five pressures with three sacks and five defensive stops. He also logged two tackles and one forced fumble during the game. It was an excellent season for McDonald IV and was given All-America honors.

McDonald IV opted to play a fifth year in 2022 and got action in 518 snaps on defense. He again made 36 tackles, 24 defensive stops and added 7.5 TFL and looked much better as a run defender. He also logged 25 pressures, five sacks and added a forced fumble to his tally.


Will McDonald IV
Iowa State Cyclones
Senior
3-star high school recruit
Height- 6’3”
Weight- 239
Hands- 9 1/2
Arm Length- 34 7/8
Wingspan- 82 1/4

NFL Combine/Pro Day

40-Yard Time- 4.62s (PD)
Vert- 36”
Broad-132”

Awards:

2022 First Team All-Big 12
2021 First Team All-Big 12
2021 Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year
2020 First Team All-Big 12

Scorecard:

Overall- 84.7/100
Tackling- 75/100
Run Stopping- 80/100
Pass Rush- 95/100
Speed- 93/100
Strength- 73/100
Acceleration- 93/100
Agility- 92/100

THE GOOD

  • A prototypical old-school speed rusher. Has the length, speed, burst and agility seen from edge defenders a generation ago.
  • Has great balance to turn quickly or get around his blocker.
  • Impressive use of hands to keep blocks away.
  • Quick off the line and gets to his attacking foot in almost an instance.
  • An excellent collegiate career with the production to show for his effort. A strip-sack specialist.
  • As a wide-nine defender he gets in attacking position to get to the quarterback very quickly. This maybe his best trait for the NFL with his combination of bend and hand usage.
  • When in a three-point stance outside the tackle he does a good job setting the edge on run plays.
  • Motor runs hot constantly showing high levels of aggression to attack ball carrier or quarterback throughout the game.
  • Good use of pass-rush moves and never without a plan.

THE BAD

  • Age will be a factor as he’s already 24.
  • Will break containment with his overaggressive attacking mentality.
  • Prefers to be a straight-line rusher making him overrun the pocket.
  • You won’t see him winning with power and bowling over linemen.
  • His general strength fails him when playing inside on run plays limiting his usage as a down lineman.
  • Never wins versus double-teams, doesn’t have the functional strength to break free.
  • Can lose the ball carrier in the trash.
  • Faster offensive tackles manage to negate his pass rush.

THE FIT

Will McDonald IV is a fun edge rusher to watch when going after the quarterback. He’s an athletic machine that can find ways to use his natural gifts to get into the backfield with ease. While his speed and agility help him win on the edge that can also be his downfall. Smart offensive tackles will use his speed and aggression against him to make him miss his target. Also, his run defending is marked as bad, but more than anything it’s lacking strength. If he can work on his lower body strength while keeping up his high-level pass rush abilities in the NFL then he will become a major name to watch for. If he finds his way on a team that will allow him to play as a stand up edge player on an odd-front defensive line he will excel almost immediately.

Late second-round value, but on the right scheme if he was taken much earlier that would be good value.

(All scout consensus ranking: 37th)

COWBOYS COMPARISON
Randy Gregory

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