Two Ravens land on the NFL 40 under 40 list of rising stars

Ravens, Mike Macdonald
Ravens, Mike Macdonald /

The Baltimore Ravens can hardly boast the youngest roster in the league, but they do have two rising stars behind the scenes who could impact the franchise for years to come.

Some of the Ravens’ brightest and most promising players skew toward the younger side: Lamar Jackson and Marlon Humphrey are just 25 years old, Mark Andrews is 26 years old, and breakout candidate Rashod Bateman is 22 years old, not to mention the handful of rookies (Kyle Hamilton, Tyler Linderbaum, David Ojabo) who have their entire careers ahead of them.

But what about the young and distinguished members of the Ravens flock who have more brains than brawn, to put it one way?

The Athletic’s Lindsay Jones 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, analytics experts, and more.

For Baltimore, one well-known assistant and one lesser-known employee made the list: Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and Ravens director of research and development David McDonald.

Both Macdonald and McDonald (a bit confusing, we know) are 35 years old, and the former recently earned the defensive coordinator position after Don Martindale left for the New York Giants.

On Macdonald, Jones writes:

"“Macdonald spent seven years as an assistant coach on John Harbaugh’s Ravens staff before becoming Jim Harbaugh’s defensive coordinator at the University of Michigan for the 2021 season.He’s overseeing a talented defense that includes veterans such as defensive lineman Calais Campbell and cornerback Marlon Humphrey, and rising stars like outside linebacker Odafe Oweh and rookie safety Kyle Hamilton.’"

Ravens employees Mike Macdonald and David McDonald get deserved praise in 2022

The former Wolverines defensive coordinator helped Michigan rise up the rankings in total defense, jumping from 84th place to 14th place within the span of a year.

Macdonald also worked directly with 2022 No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson and should play a crucial role in the development of Baltimore’s young pass-rushers like Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes.

Don Martindale’s departure admittedly leaves more questions than answers about the state of the Ravens’ new-look defense in 2022, but having someone as young and capable as Macdonald could benefit the team for the foreseeable future.

As for the lesser-known McDonald, David McDonald’s duties lie far beyond the field and include applying analytics to all aspects of the Ravens’ football operations from drafting players to making roster cuts.

McDonald, who majored in computer science, helps make manager Eric DeCosta’s job a little easier; for example, McDonald and his team were responsible for “digitizing the team’s draft board and developing ways to use player tracking data to better inform football decisions.”

Long story short, McDonald helps the Ravens franchise forge ahead as one of the more sustainable as well as innovative teams in modern football, and his work, though arguably more obscure, deserves recognition as much as any player’s on-field achievement.

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Mike Macdonald and David McDonald are currently two of the biggest behind-the-scenes rising stars in the league, but expect more young and talented Ravens personnel to follow in their footsteps in the future.