KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The streak is over: Iowa State's Will McDonald IV is a first-round NFL pick, with the New York Jets taking the edge rusher/linebacker No. 15 overall Thursday night in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Cyclones hadn't had a first-round draft pick since George Amundson in 1973. At that time, Jack Trice Stadium was still under construction and named "Cyclone Stadium".
"A few years ago, it [would've been] a huge deal to get somebody drafted. And now I feel like that's become the expectation at Iowa State," Nick Osen of 24/7 Sports said. I will say the fanbase, it's something that they certainly hear about, and kind of talk about, as well as maybe rival fan bases."
"I don't really, you know, care about being first round, second, third, because at the end of the day, you know, we are doing the same job," McDonald said. "It's all about you know, to production, and how you do it."
Simply put: he's a freak of nature.
"I like to jump over cars and I like to do extreme stuff," McDonald said. "One day, you know, I seen a car and I was like, 'I wonder if I could jump over?' So I just went and did it. Probably one of my hardest ones, but I did make it look easy."
But he's not going headed for the NFL just because he can jump over a car.
"I did martial arts, basketball, wrestling, I played soccer," he said. "And I kind of just, you know, took all that, I made like a versatile type of player. I kind of built Will McDonald."
Those stats in particular make the Milwaukee native a top prospect.
"The athleticism, specifically some of his speed and ability to bend kind of when he's doing the pass rush, that got him a lot of attention," said Nick Osen, a sports recruiting expert for 24/7 Sports.
"The questions about him come with, 'Is he enough of a run stuffer, is he stout enough at the point of attack?'" Thamel said. "But there's enough great film on him and, look, in this quarterback-driven league, you need guys who can go get that quarterback and McDonald's certainly proven he can do that time and time again."
While he is well-known for his skills, experts believe McDonald's commitment and drive is what sets him apart from others.
"I know there were times when staff and players kind of thought everybody was, you know, done or would be kind of hanging out with friends and things of that nature," Osen said. "And he wouldn't, he [would] be at the workout facility just putting in that extra time. You can hear that type of thing from some of his high school coaches as well."
YouTube Shorts: Get to know Will McDonald IV