The Atlanta Falcons have finalized their 2017 draft class with the following players: DE Takk McKinley, LB Duke Riley, G Sean Harlow, DB Damontae Kazee, RB Brian Hill and TE Eric Saubert.
The Falcons selected McKinley with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Atlanta traded up five spots to get the defensive end from Richmond, CA, who played in 28 games for UCLA after playing a season at Contra Costa College. McKinley transferred to UCLA in 2014 and recorded 99 total tackles, 28.0 tackles for loss, 16.0 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 10 passes defensed over his three-year collegiate career.
In 2016, McKinley was selected first-team All-Pac-12 by the coaches in the conference. McKinley recorded 18.0 tackles for loss during his final year with the Bruins, which was the second-best mark in the Pac-12. He also chipped in 61 total tackles, 10.0 sacks, and three forced fumbles, which were both third in the conference in 2016. During a game versus Utah, the 6-4 redshirt sophomore recorded 5.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, McKinley's 16 combined sacks and quarterback hits were the most in the Pac-12 last season.
With the No. 75 overall pick in the third round, Atlanta selected LSU linebacker Duke Riley.
Riley is the fifth player from LSU General Manager Thomas Dimitroff has drafted during his time here – third time in three years. The 6-1, 230-pound linebacker played in 50 games with 13 starts for the Tigers over four years and tallied 144 total tackles, 10.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interceptions, and two fumble recoveries.
Last year during his senior season, he took over as the starter, replacing current Falcons linebacker Deion Jones at inside linebacker, while starting all 12 games and finishing the season with 93 total tackles, 9.0 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks. His 93 total tackles led the Tigers and his 40 solo tackles ranked second on the team last season. He was also voted LSU’s Football MVP last season and named a permanent team captain for the Bayou Bengals last season.
Atlanta selected Sean Harlow from Oregon State as their first offensive player with the 136th overall pick in the fourth round, defensive back Damontae Kazee from San Diego State with the 149th pick in the fifth round, running back Brian Hill from Wyoming with the 156th pick in the fifth round, and tight end Eric Saubert with the 174th overall pick out of Drake in the fifth round.
The Falcons used their first pick of day three of the draft to select Harlow. The 6’4 guard started 37 career games, including 23 at left tackle and 14 at right tackle. As a senior, Harlow served as a team captain and started the final nine games of the season at left tackle. He helped the Beavers set the OSU single-season
record with 5.2 yards per carry and was named second team All Pac-12.
Kazee started the final 41 games of his career at San Diego State at cornerback. He holds the SDSU career record for interceptions (17), and he was also named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year for two straight season (2015-16). Kazee was the first player in Aztec history to record six or more interceptions in consecutive seasons.
Hill is a 6-1, 219 pound running back who describes his running style as “violent.” He ran for over 4,287 yards on 775 carries during his career at Wyoming. Hill also recorded 35 rushing touchdowns and chipped in 41 receptions for 403 yards. Last season, Hill rushed for 1,860 yards on 349 carries with 22 touchdowns. He set a career high with 289 rushing yards and three touchdowns against Nevada.
Saubert earned his fourth All-Pioneer-Football League selection after being named first-team PFL in 2016. He ranked 19th in the nation with 10 receiving touchdowns, and was second in the nation among tight ends with 70.5 receiving yards per game. In 2016, he recorded 56 receptions for 776 yards.