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Will McDonald IV Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Report

Defensive End, Iowa State Cyclones #9

Will McDonald Measurements

6’4” / 245 lbs

40 Time: 4.6 (estimate)

Will McDonald NFL Draft Player Profile

High School

Will McDonald came out of high school as a three star prospect. Rivals, 247Sports, and ESPN all had McDonald ranked as a top-five player in the state of Wisconsin. Will was a two-time All-Region selection, as well as a 2017 WFCA first-team All-State selection. As a senior, McDonald finished with 61 tackles, 12 of which were sacks. This followed up a 69 tackles, 11.5 sack performance as a junior. Football wasn’t Will’s only sport in high school. As a basketball player, he averaged 18.3 points per games and 12.8 rebounds per game as a senior. This earned him the 2018 Classic 8 Player of the Year in Wisconsin. He would also win a state championship in discus, while finishing third in the state in the high jump. Oh, and he also played baseball.


Iowa State DE Will McDonald

Iowa State DE Will McDonald

McDonald would redshirt his first year after arriving at Iowa St. Still, he managed to play in four games and would finish with 3 tackles and a sack. Will would actually start the 2019 season as a linebacker, before eventually moving back to defensive end mid-season. He would finish the season in a flurry, with five of his six sacks coming in the last four games. Those six sacks are now an Iowa St. school record for a freshman.

In 2020 would be when he really burst onto the scene. He would set another school record, while leading the Big 12 and tie for first nationally with 10.5 sacks. McDonald was also fourth in the Big 12 with 13.5 tackles for loss during the season. Will would earn a second-team Academic All-Big 12 selection, along with a first-team All-Big 12 nomination, as well as being a Ted Hendricks Award semifinalist after the season.

This season hasn’t lived up to expectation for the Cyclones, as they currently sit at 6-5. However, McDonald has continued his sack production with another 10.5 sacks in 10 games. While he’s not currently leading the nation like he did in 2020, he still finds himself near the top (tied for fifth).

Will McDonald Strengths


When you sit and watch McDonald play, you can’t help but notice how quick he is. Quick enough to where it almost appears as if he playing out of control at times. This couldn’t be further from the truth however. If you actually watch what he does play in and play out, you’ll see a very patient rusher. He doesn’t get sucked in on RPO’s and forces the quarterback to give the ball to the running back, trusting his teammates to clean it up. One of the first plays vs Northern Iowa shows off his patience while rushing the passer. He had a free run at the quarterback, but didn’t go rushing in out of control. The quarterback attempted a spin move, but because McDonald came in a bit slower and controlled, he easily made the tackle for a sack.


Being that Will is patient with his rushing, he’s not always moving at full speed. Thankfully for him, he has great burst to get back to full speed in an instant. Because of this he is able to close down gaps between himself of the ball carrier in an instant. I was more impressed when he used it as a pass rushing tool though. He would slow down his rush (sometimes completely stop) and then out of nowhere would just blow past the offensive lineman.


On most players you’re going to get a difference of opinions on a player’s strengths and weaknesses. One thing that you can’t argue over is production, and that something that McDonald has no issue with. His 28 career sacks in 34 games are impressive and comparable to some of the NFL’s best rushers. Myles Garrett has 31 sacks in 34 games while at Texas A&M, while Joey Bosa finished with 26 sacks in 38 games. He’ll still need to prove it at the NFL level himself obviously, but you can’t argue that he has a knack for getting to the quarterback.

Will McDonald Weaknesses


Iowa State DE Will McDonald

Iowa State DE Will McDonald

I would definitely label McDonald as a finesse pass rusher. He wants to use his speed and athleticism to beat the blockers. When he tries to use a bull rush, you just don’t see any push on his part. He’s relatively easily handled in the run game as well. McDonald can still make plays by shooting the gap, or using that burst to out-position the lineman. However, he really struggled once lineman got a hold of him. In fact, Trevor Penning really didn’t seem to have much trouble with him during their matchup at the beginning of the season.

Will McDonald Draft Stock

Even though he lead the nation in sacks in 2020, and is near the top on the pack this season, you really don’t see much hype around McDonald. I searched a handful of media outlets, and I couldn’t find anyone that ranked McDonald all that high, even in just positional rankings. When I looked at NFL Mock Draft Database, I saw that he was ranked all the way down as the 290th prospect.

Final Thoughts Will McDonald

McDonald finds himself in a tough draft class. When you look at the best defensive ends in this class, you’re also looking at some of the best players in the draft class overall. In the end, his athleticism can’t overcome his lack of play strength is what keeps him from having a chance to be listed among those players.

Even so, I would say that I’m higher on him that most of the national media. Personally, I would feel comfortable taking him in the late fourth, early fifth round at the moment. His production and athleticism is something that I just couldn’t pass on later in the draft and risk him getting into free agency. Another of our analysts, Ken Noble, thinks he is the ideal pick for a team needing a pass rusher, but not willing to spend a premium pick.

Will McDonald Pro Comparison: Yannick Ngakoue, Edge / Las Vegas Raiders

Will McDonald IV Draft Prospect Report / Scouting Report by Brandon Claburn