Jets pick a DE Will McDonald was selected first overall in the Aaron Rodgers era

Jets select DE Will McDonald

The Jets were reportedly looking to add an offensive lineman with the pick they acquired in the Aaron Rodgers trade. With all of their options off the board, the organization has pivoted to a defensive lineman. The Jets have used pick No. 15 on Iowa State defensive end Will McDonald.

Widely connected to tackles going into the draft, the Jets saw the Steelers hop in front of them — via a Patriots trade — to nab Broderick Jones. With a bit of a gulf between the top four O-linemen in this year’s class and the field, the Jets opted to go in a different direction. They bolstered their pass rush by adding Iowa State’s all-time sack leader.

McDonald finished his Cyclones career with 34 sacks. All but one of those came over the past four seasons. The ex-Big 12 standout recorded two double-digit sack seasons, showing impressive bend from his edge-rushing post. The Jets will be prepared to play him alongside the likes of Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers and 2022 first-rounder Jermaine Johnson.

This did not profile as a red-alert issue for the Jets, but Lawson’s three-year contract does expire after the 2023 season. The team’s more pressing tackle deficiency remains. Mekhi Becton has played one game over the past two seasons, and Duane Brown is coming off surgery ahead of his age-38 season. Max Mitchell, a 2022 fourth-round pick, is coming off a season-ending blood-clot problem. While Mitchell is back in the fold, the Jets do not have surefire Rodgers protectors on either side. Three-year starter George Fant remains a free agent.

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