Mock draft season is in full force and there have been some intriguing ones to come out recently.
The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman released his third-annual first-round mock draft, which was informed by both NFL and college sources that he’s spoken to over the past few months. Those sources didn’t only help inform him who to select for specific teams, but they also provided some insight into each prospect, which makes it unique compared to some other mock drafts you’ll see out there.
Feldman’s choice for the Kansas City Chiefs makes that bit all the more interesting. He takes Iowa State EDGE Will McDonald IV at pick No. 31, which isn’t exactly a new or exciting option for Kansas City. It actually raises quite a few questions.
Here’s a look at what Feldman had to say about the first-round pick:
A fixture on the Freaks List for most of his college career, McDonald, who ranked No. 5 in 2022, had 27 sacks, 35 TFLs and eight forced fumbles the last three years, while also doing a lot of the dirty work for the Cyclones defense. He broad jumped 11 feet at the combine after measuring in at 6 feet 4, 239 pounds with almost 35-inch arms. At his pro day, McDonald ran the 40 in the low 4.6s and, according to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah, ran a blazing 4.09 shuttle and 6.79 3-cone time, which would’ve been the fifth-fastest of any player in Indianapolis; the shuttle time would’ve been fourth-best.
What about his anonymous NFL and college coaching sources? They help put things into perspective about this prospect.
First anonymous source:
“He really affected the game. The way he turns the corner is incredible. He’s so loose and has good pass rush moves. I think he just played so hard. He doesn’t have the same traits, but he was a more productive player than (Tyree) Wilson. They asked him to do some things you don’t usually see from guys that size — playing in the B-gap or being a 4i. They asked him to do a lot for them. He played the run way better this year than a year ago. Every year we played him he got better.”
Second anonymous source:
“He’s got a slot receiver’s flexibility, but when he looks in the mirror he thinks he sees a 3-technique. I really respected that kid. If he’s 15 pounds heavier, he’s probably a top-5 pick.”
Third anonymous source:
“He’s explosive and was the toughest defender in our league, and that scheme’s so hard to deal with because they’d move all over. But for being not that big, he was still physical enough to take on a double team.”
The fascinating thing to me about this pick is that it’d be a major outlier given what Steve Spagnuolo likes at the edge rusher position. One source mentions he’d be a top-5 pick if he were 15 pounds heavier — and that’s spot on. If he were 15 pounds heavier he’d still barely meet the typical threshold for a Spags defensive end. He likes his guys to be 6-foot-5, 260 pounds and above.
One of the sources notes that the Cyclones did play McDonald in the B-Gap as well as at 4i at times and that he improved against the run in 2022. Still, he’s hardly built to hold up against the run at the NFL level. Defending the run to earn the right to rush the passer is practically a proverb in Kansas City, so it’s a bit hard to imagine him with the Chiefs unless they believe he can bulk up a bit at the next level.