49ers Select at Ray MacDonald at 97
The 97th pick overall, the comp pick the 49ers received for the loss of Julian Peterson, they pick Ray McDonald DE/DT, from Florida, who most likely will be a OLB in the 3-4.
The son of former University of Florida receiver Ray McDonald (1982-85), Raymondo made a name for himself on the other side of the ball for the Gators. He battled back from a pair of serious knee injuries in 2005 to re-establish himself as one of the most tireless workers in the trenches.
When injuries and suspensions depleted the team’s defensive line depth, McDonald made a seamless move back to nose tackle from his strong-side defensive end position in the later stages of 2006, and his leadership in the middle helped Florida march on to capture the national championship.
McDonald was one of the state of Florida’s elite defensive linemen at Glades Central High School. He earned Prep Star and National Bluechips All-American honors in 2001 and was named to Prep Star’s Dream Team. That publication ranked him among the nation’s top eight defensive linemen and top two in the Southeast. He also ranked among the nation’s top 30 defensive ends by Rivals.com.
The Palm Beach County Defensive Player of the Year in 2001 helped the team to the Class 3A state championship as a junior, and started his final three seasons as a defensive tackle. He recorded 132 tackles with 24 quarterback sacks as a senior.
McDonald enrolled at Florida in 2002, performing on the scout team as a defensive end. He became the first freshman to start 12 games on the defensive line in 2004 and was only the fourth defensive lineman in UF history to start as a freshman in the season opener (Reggie McGrew started in 1996, Mark Campbell in 1992 and Phillip Johnson in 1989), after taking over weak-side defensive tackle duties. McDonald registered 54 tackles (34 solos) with four sacks and eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also caused two fumbles and deflected a pair of passes.
In 2004, McDonald started seven of 11 games at nose tackle, sitting out the Middle Tennessee contest after suffering a left ankle sprain vs. Louisiana State. He was credited with 39 tackles (26 solos), three sacks and 10 stops behind the line of scrimmage. He also had four quarterback pressures and a fumble recovery. In addition to his defensive duties, McDonald contributed on special teams on the punt and extra point and field goal block teams.
His junior season was limited to eight games and three starting assignments, as McDonald suffered a partially torn right anterior cruciate ligament early in the season vs. Tennessee that required surgery. He returned for a few games before he was again shut down, undergoing another surgical procedure. He finished the season with eight tackles (6 solos), a sack and three stops for losses.
McDonald returned with much better range and quickness in 2006. He started every game, lining up at strong-side defensive end before shifting to nose tackle in the ninth game of the season vs. Vanderbilt. He earned All-Southeastern Conference honors after recording 36 tackles (19 solos), three sacks, 4½ stops behind the line of scrimmage and two pressures. He returned a fumble recovery for a score, blocked a kick and batted down five passes.
In 46 games at Florida, McDonald started 36 times. He collected 137 tackles (85 solos) with 11 sacks for minus-64 yards and 25½ stops for losses totaling 103 yards. He added six pressures with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He also deflected seven passes and blocked one kick.
Positives: Has a stout frame with good chest thickness, long arms, large hands, wide waist and hips and thick thighs … Lacks sustained speed, but shows good explosion off the snap that allows him to consistently gain advantage in his initial charge … Added bulk to his frame before the 2006 season, and it was evident by the way he was able to hold ground at the point of attack and split double teams better than he did in the past … Has the lateral agility to get out and neutralize the outside rush, showing the vision to quickly locate the screens and sweeps … With his improved strength, he seemed to be much more active with his hands, using them effectively to prevent blockers from locking on and walling him off … Has a good feel for blocking schemes and knows the assignments of each of his defensive line mates … Has played both tackle positions and strong-side defensive end during his career, and that versatility will prove invaluable at the pro level (could either be utilized as a defensive end in a 3-4 alignment or as an under tackle in a 4-3 scheme) … Naturally strong athlete who didn’t always shoot his hands well in the past, but technique refinement in 2006 saw McDonald generate a strong punch to shock and jolt the blocker … Was also very effective using his hands to lock on, grab and drag down ball carriers … Has the sudden burst off the ball to push the pocket and clog the rush lanes (needs to use it with more consistency and for longer periods, though) … Has the natural explosion and quick first step to reach the corner and showed improved lateral range to slip in-line … When he keeps his pads down, he generates the functional strength to hold his ground firmly … Has the athletic agility to generate quick counter moves and demonstrates the body control to turn, spin and slip past a lethargic offensive lineman … You can see on film that he knows how to use his long arms to neutralize reach and cut blocks … Lacks an array of pass rush moves, but shows good effort in attempts to push the pocket.
Negatives: Has added needed bulk, but can still use some additional weight to use vs. double teams … Has an explosive initial burst, but his speed tapers off when he has to move long distances … Has quick reactions when he locates the ball, but just seems to lack a feel for the ball, especially in play-action … When he keeps his pads down, he can hold his ground, but tends to get too tall in his stance shooting the gaps, struggling to maintain position … Has improved his hip snap, but when he fails to sink his weight, he gets his feet too wide, losing leverage and is then beaten by the double team … Has improved his hand usage, but when he fails to shoot them, blockers get into his chest and he then struggles to disengage … Lacks pass rush moves and his only effectiveness here is when he gets a free lane to the quarterback … Stout enough to push the pocket, but doesn’t have the sustained speed to pursue in space (six pressures in 46 games) … Takes well to hard coaching, but needs to be pushed and prodded at times (needs to play with a consistent motor).
Compares To: James Hall, Detroit … There might be bigger and quicker defensive ends than McDonald and Hall, but both rely on an explosive first step to surprise a lethargic blocker … McDonald is a bit of a ‘tweener, but his added bulk and strength will make him an effective under tackle in a 4-3 alignment, and he is stout enough to play defensive end in a 3-4 formation … Just don’t ask him to get to the quarterback on a regular basis, as he lacks pass-rush technique and an array of moves.
2004: Sat out the Middle Tennessee game (10/16) after suffering a left ankle sprain the previous week vs. Louisiana State.
2005: Underwent surgery in September to repair a partially torn right knee ACL. Started the first three games of the season before having to sit out the next three following surgery … Reappeared in the lineup vs. Louisiana State and Georgia before sitting out the remainder of the season after having a second and season-ending surgery on his injured right knee.
2006: Suffered a hyperextended right elbow when a teammate fell on him as he was making a tackle vs. Arkansas (12/02). The doctors thought the arm was broken originally, but McDonald was back in the starting lineup one month later vs. Ohio State.
Campus: 4.9 in the 40-yard dash … 465-pound bench press … Bench pressed 225 pounds 33 times … 450-pound squat … 33-inch vertical jump … 9-4 broad jump … 4.7 20-yard shuttle … 34¼-inch arm length … 10¼-inch hands … Right-handed … 13/21 Wonderlic score.