It’s not likely defensive end Dylan Donahue was on many New York Jets fans’ radars entering this weekend, but he was on the front office’s radar. The Jets selected Donahue 181st overall, toward the end of the fifth round.
Donahue comes out of Division II West Georgia, where he was the Gulf South Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Donahue, who is originally from Billings, Montana, had 13.5 sacks in his final year at West Georgia and was also named an Associated Press second-team “Little All-American.”
But Donahue is 6-foot-3, 248 pounds, a tweener who most likely projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker, not someone to back up defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams. Collegiate sack totals aside, how likely is it that Donahue will add much to the young corps of Lorenzo Mauldin IV, Jordan Jenkins, Mike Catapano and Freddie Bishop as they all try to have an impact for the Jets?
And though this is hardly Donahue’s fault, he is hardly an inspiring pick to see after fans watched Mike Maccagnan trade back four times in 24 hours.
Seven picks later, in the early sixth round, the Jets returned to the offense and drafted Elijah McGuire, a running back from Louisiana-Lafayette. It’s evident the Jets want to have a little more depth at that position, behind an aging and recently injured Matt Forte and Bilal Powell. Even though Powell had his best career season last year, he hasn’t proven he can carry an RB1 load just yet and may be more effective when he can be spelled.
McGuire ran for 1,127 yards and seven touchdowns last year, marking three straight years with 1,000 yards rushing for the Ragin’ Cajuns. He’s a pinball-type like Powell, not a bigger bruiser like former Jet Khiry Robinson, who the Jets’ staff seemed to want to make work as the third-stringer.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein didn’t have many positive things to say about McGuire, though. Despite “excellent hand-eye coordination” that makes him “effective in the slot and into routes,” Zierlein says “he’s a better athlete than running back.”
“His production fell sharply this past season thanks to a foot injury, but his weaknesses transcend any injuries,” he wrote. “He has developmental traits that could land him at the back end of a roster or on a practice squad.”
One more thing to watch: The special teams staff might try McGuire out as a punt returner. He fielded 28 punts in his collegiate career for 197 yards.
For a potential practice-squad player taken when there were positions of greater need left unaddressed, though, I have to give a below-average grade.