Will McDonald IV, 4.27 (2023 NFL Draft Round One)
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Brian Costello, New York Post: I was reading about your journey a little bit. You haven’t been playing football for a very long time. Can you talk about your journey of starting football so late in life and now here you are a first round pick?
I was a real big basketball player at first. My head coach kept coming up after practice—football head coach, Coach Harris—kept coming up to me after practice and asking me to try out and so my junior year, I really took it seriously and I just went with it.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: Will, Congratulations. Can you just talk about your journey at Iowa State and what are you going to bring to the Jets?
I’m going to bring everything that I can, whether it’s playing special teams, being a role player, just doing whatever I’ve got to do. A lot of the things that I learned at Iowa State, a lot of discipline, a lot of poise, learning and making the right decisions, being around good teammates, just following the pack and doing whatever I can do to help anyone I’m around.
Antwan Staley, New York Daily News: (follow-up) Just to follow up on that, it seems like you’ve always had a quick burst off the line, really good with technique, just how did you learn some of the technical moves that you’ve tried to display during your time at Iowa State?
I was just watching NFL players and then just kind of mixing it in with my kind of style of play, watching Von Miller, Aaron Donald, Frank Clark, Maxx Crosby, watching all of them and replicating everything and then just kind of putting my own sauce on it and just working every day after practice finally paid off.
Dennis Waszak, Associated Press: Will, did you know the Jets were interested in you and when did that come about? How did you know the Jets might be an option?
I didn’t know if they were interested in me, but I did meet with them at the Senior Bowl. They were pretty cool people, nice environment. They were telling me about the place. Everything sounded real good and just a lot of people and I’ve already got two Cyclones there with Breece (Hall) and Allen (Lazard), my boys, so I’m just real excited.
Brian Costello, New York Post: Will, have you talked to Breece (Hall) or Allen (Lazard) recently?
Yeah, I actually talked to Breece this morning and I had no idea, but I had talked to Breece this morning just about the Draft and everything and how to approach it and stuff and I just got off the phone with him a couple of minutes ago when you all had picked me up and we were just talking and everything. Real cool experience.
Brian Costello, New York Post: (follow up) What did he say to you?
He was just telling me congratulations and I’m proud of you. I came a long way, it was an honor to play with me and everything. I definitely can say Breece has taught me a lot, definitely helped me develop into the man I am today. It was just an honor. I’m back to being around my homies and so it’s a real good experience.
Brian Costello, New York Post: As a kid from Wisconsin, what’s it like knowing you’re going to be playing with Aaron Rodgers?
I’ve actually followed Aaron Rodgers just being from Wisconsin. I wasn’t a Packers fan, but I was an Aaron Rodgers fan. It’s actually a dream come true just playing with Aaron, being able to be around his mindset and how he works. I want to be around all that positivity and I want it to rub off on everybody.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: Will, can you describe how they used you last year? I think you were more of an interior guy, right? Where as in past years, you were maybe a little more on the edge, right?
Yeah, they basically tried to put me in the best positions that they could put me in and I feel like it was real good for me, the opportunity I was able to see things from a lot of different perspectives and it made me into a better ballplayer, just being everywhere and seeing all the types of formations and plays that they run. Just being versatile in those positions, it made me see a lot of things from a different perspective.
Rich Cimini, ESPN.com: What do you think your upside is in the NFL? What’s your ceiling? How good can you be in the NFL?
I’m just going to try to get into the Hall of Fame. I don’t think I have a ceiling. I just want to keep rising. I want to keep improving one percent every day and do whatever I can.
Zack Rosenblatt, The Athletic: Will, Robert Saleh talks about how he likes his players to play with violence, do you feel like that fits your personality?
It definitely does. I love hitting people. It goes exactly with my game, so I’m just really excited right now. I just can’t wait to get there and start practicing and everything.