Colts Prospect Q&A: DE Ray McDonald

Florida's Ray McDonald is one of the nation's top collegiate defensive ends. But did you know he also played defensive tackle during two of his seasons? That versatility and his quickness could put him on the Colts draft board. Learn more about him in this exclusive interview with's Ed Thompson.

Ed Thompson: How are things going for you through this whole experience?

Ray McDonald: It's a real exciting time right now. I'm a little nervous, coming into the draft and not knowing where you're going to go at. But it's real exciting, real fun. I'm trying to enjoy all of it. Not many people get to go through something like this.

ET: One of the things I really admire about you is that you've battled through two serious knee injuries and most recently an elbow injury--and yet had a stellar college career despite them. As I see it, if you can stay healthy at the next level, you've really got a tremendous upside even though you're already projected to one of the top guys in this draft….

RM: You know, going through all those injuries it was real stressful before the season and going into the season. I didn't really know if I was going to be able to play the whole season, but I did and I played pretty good. I guess I'm considered one of the top guys going into the draft and I'm really thankful and blessed for that. I'm a real blessed person and it's been a real great year for me, winning a national championship.

ET: What's the status of your elbow injury? How are you feeling, are there any lingering problems with it at this point?

RM: No, I think it looked worst than it really was. I have no problems with it; I played in the Senior Bowl.

ET: You're one of those guys who never seems to run out of gas. Why is that?

RM: Just hard work. I just don't want to let anyone beat me. It's just me being a competitor. You don't want to let anyone else show you up. I feel like because of that, it's kind of helped me out these last seasons. I just go all the time and coaches like that. I've got to give credit to my coaches because they really pushed me when I first got to Gainesville.

(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

ET: How much do you think your experience at both the defensive tackle and defensive end position will help you in this draft?

RM: I think it's helpful because I can play one just as good as the other. If a team wants to draft me at end, they can draft me at end. If they want to move me inside and tell me to gain some weight - I'll do that.

ET: At the pro level, do you think your natural instincts and your technique would make you more successful at one versus the other?

RM: No, not really. I played both of them throughout my whole college career. My first two years I played inside and my last two I played end and inside. So, I mean, just playing the defensive line is natural to me - the whole D-line. That's how I was coached and that's all I know.

ET: What do you think makes you special out there so that when NFL teams are looking at you they say, "we've got to have this guy?"

RM: I think some of the teams are surprised at how strong I am and how good I move for my size. I just think a lot of teams like the way I play. I can stop the run and pass rush. I feel like all the teams look at that and they want a guy like that.

To learn more about Ray McDonald, check out his player profile page. And subscribers can read the rest of Ray's interview on Friday where he'll talk about the teams that are showing interest in him, what you should know about him as a person, and much more!
A member of the Professional Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's NFL and college football player interviews and features have been published across the network and syndicated through's NFL team pages.

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