The highs and lows of Cole McDonald’s game make him a fascinating prospect
In the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft, with the 224th overall pick, the Tennessee Titans drafted… an absolute enigma of a quarterback– with mountains of good and bad tape over the course of his two seasons as a college starter.
McDonald’s production in 2018 and 2019, his sophomore and junior seasons respectively, look like numbers plucked straight from a Gus Duggerton offense. More passing yards in 2019 than anyone not named Joe Burrow or Anthony Gordon. Back-to-back seasons with 30+ touchdowns, making him one of three college quarterbacks to reach that mark over the past two seasons (Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa being the other two).
But hyper-productive quarterbacks from the college ranks don’t always go on to put up those same numbers at the pro level (Luke Falk, anyone?). What’s more, quarterbacks in a perpetually quarterback-needy league don’t fall into the final round of the draft unless they come with their fair share of question marks.
For McDonald, those question marks are easy to track down. A combined 24 picks through his last 27 games is borderline Jameis Winston-esque. A career completion percentage below 62%, all while playing for a Group of Five team in the Mountain West Conference, certainly didn’t help his draft stock either.
All this for the question, who exactly is the Titans’ new quarterback Cole McDonald? Pegging him as either good or bad through two seasons in college is a challenge, but figuring out how that play could translate to the NFL level is an even taller task.
McDonald has the tools to be a steal or the issues to be a late-round bust, but he can’t be both. With the problems in his game working against the tools in his arsenal, let’s dive into the question, just how high is Cole McDonald’s ceiling as a Tennessee Titan?