We continue our look at potential quarterbacks the Chicago Bears may take in the draft, and we are focusing on Hawaii’s Cole McDonald
As a two-year starter at Hawaii, Cole McDonald had just one Division-I scholarship offer coming out of high school. The former two-star prospect has made the most of his collegiate career, and he’s likely to be drafted at the end of this month, potentially by the Chicago Bears? His numbers across his sophomore and junior seasons looked relatively similar, but Cole McDonald added 15 pounds of muscle between the two years.
Last season, he completed 63.8 percent of his passes while totaling 4,135 yards through the air and 8.1 yards-per-attempt. He finished with 33 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and also accumulated 383 rushing yards with seven touchdowns on the ground.
At 6-foot-3, 215 pounds, McDonald has good size for a potential NFL-caliber quarterback. He ran a 4.58 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, and while the 40 times mean little in the way of how good a quarterback might be, it’s definitely a positive to have a quarterback who can move around and buy a little extra time.
McDonald has a huge arm, and he likes to throw the ball downfield. He produced three 1,000+ yard receivers last season with JoJo Ward leading the pack with 65 receptions for 1,134 receiving yards (17.4 Y/C). He does an excellent job scanning the field and doesn’t lock on receivers. As you can see in the clip below, McDonald runs the RPO offense, faking the handoff to his back. He initially looks left, then the middle, before hitting a wide-open receiver along the right sideline.
While he’s traditionally more of a pocket passer, he moves around well enough to buy extra time. He’s also not afraid of putting his head down to gain the tough yards. ESPN’s Todd McShay really likes Cole McDonald’s skillset:
As NFL teams continue to evolve, if you will, and become more like college spreads, and I think there is something there (for Cole McDonald).
His deep ball accuracy is a major concern. He can make some incredible throws downfield but can also severely overthrow his receiver, like in the clip below. He needs to clean up his footwork, which should improve some of the accuracy issues. But still, he has a wonky throwing motion that creates a really long delivery.
This delivery has made him a tad late on some of his throws throughout his career. I do wonder if his future NFL coach would make him revise his motion, but then you risk creating something that doesn’t come naturally. There is also the risk that a new throwing motion will mechanically break down as fatigue sets in or when he gets flushed out of the pocket (see Tim Tebow).
Evaluating a potential fit
With four picks in the final two rounds of the draft, it would seem to make sense that Bears general manager Ryan Pace might use one on a quarterback. While the odds are less favorable, the deeper the player is selected, McDonald is a guy that could be a diamond in the rough.
I think he has more potential than Tyler Bray to stick in the Bears’ quarterback room – which isn’t exactly saying much – however, Cole McDonald is one of those guys who can excel if given a chance.