NFL Draft Buzz: DE Ray McDonald

Florida defensive end Ray McDonald told me during a recent phone interview that he'd be making his first pre-draft visit this week and that he had a second team lined up as well. Find out where he was heading and who else is showing interest in him...

The first pre-draft visit stop this month for Florida defensive end Ray McDonald should be all wrapped up by now. He told me he was heading to Tampa Bay during the first half of this week to explore opportunities with the Buccaneers. He also said he'll be visiting the Baltimore Ravens, but didn't have the date confirmed at the time of our interview.

The 6-foot-4, 276-pound lineman -- who bounced back from two knee surgeries in 2005 -- is also drawing serious interest from a number of clubs around the country. The Giants, Jets, Chiefs, and Panthers were all at his Pro Day workout and held a formal interview with him at the Combine. Other teams that sat down with him for formal interviews in Indianapolis included the Browns, Saints, Dolphins, Steelers, Bengals, Falcons and 49ers.

(AP Photo)
McDonald is the kind of player every coach dreams of having on his team. He goes all-out, every day fueled by one simple principle.

"I just don't want to let anyone beat me. It's just me being a competitor," he said. "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."

McDonald heads into this year's NFL Draft with some proven versatility that some of his fellow defensive linemen lack -- game experience as both a defensive tackle and a defensive end, shifting mid-season if need be to help his team.

"I think it's helpful that I can play both," he said. "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. I play both of them the same, one just as good as the other."

Finishing his career at Florida with 45 game appearances and 36 starts, McDonald made 133 tackles (84 solo), 25.5 tackles for a loss, and was credited with 10 sacks. He also forced two fumbles, recovered two, and knocked down 6 pass attempts.

Learn more about Ray McDonald at his player profile page at And don't miss his two-part interview that will be published this week at!

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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