Caden McDonald NFL Draft

Caden McDonald

  • LB San Diego State
  • Senior
  • #189
  • 6'3"
  • 235lbs
  • Prospect
  • Mountain West

Prospect Summary

Caden McDonald 2023 NFL Draft Scouting Report


  • Two-time First-Team All-Mountain West (2020-21)
  • Four-year letter winner for the track and field team in high school
  • Older and younger brothers both play(ed) college football


  • Scheme tendencies: 3-3-5
  • 2022 projected role: Starting SAM LB

Pros: Caden McDonald is a versatile and alignment-fluid defender. He aligns as the SAM, MIKE, and stand-up edge rusher. His solid first step can stress the outside shoulder of OTs to win the arc. He’s highly aware when dropping in zone coverage. McDonald reads his landmarks and locates routes entering his region. He’s a versatile zone dropper, operating as the curl/flats, middle hook, and hook/curl defender. He showcases a good trigger to squeeze on underneath routes. He has good fluidity in his hips to change direction based on his assignment’s path. His motor is always running—he plays until the whistle is blown. He possesses the lateral agility to flow with the ball on outside-directed runs. His best fit is as an off-ball linebacker. 

Cons: Although he is versatile, Caden McDonald struggles to disengage from blocks as a stand-up rusher. His weight and frame do not allow him to hold up at the point of attack. Once OL are latched, he can be driven off the ball. Activating his hands can assist with slipping blocks early. As a rusher, he does not attack with a plan and lacks counters to win after the initial move. In space, he can be too aggressive as a tackler and will overrun and lose contain.

Caden McDonald NFL Draft Scouting Report by Damian Parson