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Cole’s a Titan: What They’re Saying

From Nashville to Music City. Former University of Hawaii QB Cole McDonald realized his NFL dream yesterday when he was selected by the Tennessee Titans in the seventh and final round (224th pick overall) of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6-3, 215-lb. McDonald threw for 4,135 yards and 33 TDs last season, leading the Rainbow Warriors to a 10-5 record and a SoFi Hawaii Bowl victory over BYU. He then gave up his final season of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft. And now his decision has paid off.

For me, I just needed an opportunity. I just needed a shot,” McDonald told SI’s David Boclair after being selected. “For me to get that from the Titans, it’s a dream come true. I’m just super stoked to be a part of that team and be a part of that organization and to help in any way I can.”


Here are some early reactions to the draft selection of McDonald:


”[McDonald] is a guy that has good size, really good athleticism. He ran fast, he moves around, has really good arm strength. We spent quite a bit of time with him in the process getting to know him a little bit and developed a good relationship with him. We felt like from a tools standpoint he was a guy we’d like to work with.”


“Cole McDonald is in many ways quite similar to Titan QB Ryan Tannehill in terms of size, athleticism and speed. Tannehill was a WR at Texas A&M, and both QBs throw deep and on the run. Seems a great fit for Cole to begin his NFL career!”


”McDonald will be a developmental player for the Titans, who seem to be set on Logan Woodside as the backup quarterback to Ryan Tannehill. The 6-foot-3, 215-pound quarterback has a quirky release but was a productive player in a pass-happy system at Hawaii. It would be a stretch to expect McDonald to make the Titans roster, but there are some tools to work with.”


“The Hawaii signal-caller was a valuable late-round addition for the Titans that could benefit them greatly in the future. Ryan Tannehill just signed a lucrative four-year contract this offseason which quite possibly is the best situation for McDonald. You may wonder, “Why is riding the bench for multiple seasons the best situation?” Well, McDonald is a raw prospect. He has a solid 6’4” 220-pound frame with top-tier arm talent, but Hawaii ran an offense that is far from “pro-style”. The Warriors trotted out four to five receivers every single play, with nearly every snap coming from shotgun. Though the offense is not necessarily translatable, it offered McDonald the chance to receive more reps than any other QB in the nation. Over the past two seasons, he was asked to throw the ball 998 times, 90 more than any other quarterback at the college level. During his time at Hawaii, he flashed NFL-ready accuracy and athleticism that is uncommon for the position. The former Warrior owns one of the most enjoyable highlight reels you will see from this season, yes, when even compared to the likes of Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. Barring injury, Tannehill will likely play every snap under center for Tennessee until his contract is up, or they part ways, which gives McDonald time to receive NFL coaching and understand how to run an offense in the pros. If he continues to improve, he will have the opportunity and ability to start down the road, which is rare for a seventh-round QB.”


“McDonald’s athleticism and arm talent give him an edge for the Titans’ backup job. He has time to sit behind Ryan Tannehill, learn to manage an offense and clean up his decision-making.”


“The Titans needed some competition for Logan Woodside, and boy did they get it. Cole McDonald alone will make the preseason games more interesting, partly because he isn’t afraid to take chances through the air. The Hawaii product posted elite production in his last two years in college, throwing for over 8,000 yards and 69 touchdowns. In 2019, his 4,135 passing yards was third in the FBS behind Joe Burrow and Anthony Gordon. On top of having a rocket arm, McDonald is an athlete who can make plays with his legs, as evidenced by the over 700 yards he rushed for the past two seasons and his 4.58 40-yard dash time. Expectations should always be tempered with a seventh-round quarterback, but I love what McDonald brings to the table and he’ll certainly spice up the preseason in Nashville.”


“As far as developmental backup quarterback prospects go, McDonald is a polar opposite from the Titans last (failed) late-round flyer, Luke Falk. Where Falk was a non-athlete with a pop gun arm and a conservative nature, McDonald plays with a fearless — reckless at times — style that makes him one of the more fun college quarterbacks I’ve watched over the last couple years. He boasts a live arm that can deliver with touch and accuracy to all levels of the field. Oh, and he’s an electric athlete who does a great job of making plays outside structure.”

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