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New York Jets Off the Clock: Fifth-Round Pick Outside Linebacker Dylan Donahue, West Georgia Wolves
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15 May 2017 01:49 PM EST

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: West Georgia defender Dylan Donahue makes tackle. (Image Source: University of West Georgia)

The New York Jets had nine picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, with six coming on Day 3. As we take the Jets “Off the Clock,” we’ll break down all nine of their draft picks, continuing with their second fifth-round selection:

Round 5; Pick 38 (181st Overall): OLB Dylan Donahue, West Georgia

Measurables: At 6’3” and 248 pounds, Donahue is undersized for an edge pass rusher. The small-school product has short arms (30 ¼”) and smallish hands (9”). He can run pretty well for a college defensive lineman (4.75 40-yard dash) but doesn’t have the ideal explosion (29 ½” vertical) for a linebacker. Donahue does possess quick feet and can change directions very well, posting a running back-esque 7.02 three-cone time.

Skill Set: The Gulf South Defensive Player of the Year set a conference record with 13.5 sacks this past season, so you can be sure it’s his potential as a pass rusher that intrigues the Jets. He’s able to combine power, speed, and quickness, as well as a non-stop motor to get to the opposing quarterback.   

New York Jets Off the Clock: Off Needs | Def Needs | Jamal Adams | Marcus Maye | ArDarius Stewart | Chad Hansen | Jordan Leggett |

Value: NFL.com had Donahue rated as a fifth-sixth round selection, while ESPN.com and CBSSports.com saw him going more in the sixth-seventh round range so the West Georgia product went off the board a round or two sooner than most anticipated.  

Need: The Jets used a Day 2 pick on an outside linebacker in the previous two drafts and while Jordan Jenkins flashed promise as a rookie, Lorenzo Mauldin did not make the type of progress the team was hoping for in Year 2. Just as Jenkins and Mauldin are unproven in the NFL, so are the players behind them on the depth chart. A pass-rushing outside linebacker was a big need for the Jets.  

Mogollon’s Pick: Not knowing much about Donahue heading into the draft, I probably would have gone in a different direction. Doubling up at tight end in the fifth round with another ACC man in Virginia Tech’s Bucky Hodges would have been too tempting to pass up.  

Who Did They Pass Up? There were only six selections in between New York picks in the fifth to sixth round. Ukeme Eligwe (No. 183) out of Georgia Southern is another potential 3-4 outside linebacker, while running back Aaron Jones (No. 182) out of UTEP brings big-play potential and is a weapon as a receiver coming out of the backfield.

NFL Draft OTC: Picks 1-4, 5-8, 9-12, 13-16, 17-20, 21-24, 25-28, 29-32, By State; Giants OTC: Needs | Evan Engram | Dalvin Tomlinson |

The Fit: With the ability to play with his hand on the ground, as well as standup linebacker, Donahue brings the type of versatility that headman Todd Bowles likes in his defenders.  

2017 Outlook & Beyond: As a rookie, I would expect Donahue to contribute mainly, if not exclusively, as a special teams player, where his skill set should make him an asset. Moving forward the Jets would be happy if he develops into a situational pass rusher who provides depth at outside linebacker.

Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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