Picayune native on NFL's Top 40 under 40 list

Lindsay Jones, a senior writer for The Athletic covering the NFL, compiled a list of 40 individuals, all non-NFL players, who are younger than 40 years old and could be considered a rising star in their field, including head coaches, general managers, scouts, and analytics experts.

David McDonald, age 35, the Baltimore Ravens director of research and development, made the list.

Jones wrote “Few teams have been as innovative and aggressive in applying technology and analytics to all aspects of their football operations as the Ravens. McDonald, a computer science major at Southern Mississippi who started his NFL career with the Falcons, has built a staff of analysts in Baltimore who perform a variety of tasks for general manager Eric DeCosta. Their work has included fully digitizing the team’s draft board to developing ways to use player tracking data to better inform football decisions”.

As someone who never played football, McDonald told The Athletic he loves the team aspect of working for the Ravens.

“I try to observe, and then from my side think about how do we make things more efficient and more accurate, or make more accurate decisions?” McDonald said. “It could be draft-related, or for roster cutdowns. I think about, ‘Could I save this person more time? Can I come up with something to make their job easier?’”

David is the son of Steve and Ann McDonald of Picayune.