The Falcons made a move to get pass rushing DE Takkarist McKinley with the 26th pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. Atlanta originally owned the No. 31 overall pick, but traded with Seattle for their first-round pick. In addition to the 31st pick, Atlanta also traded their third and seventh round picks this year to get move up to get McKinley.
A relentless pass-rusher, McKinley recorded 16 sacks in his three years at UCLA, 10 of them coming from his senior season. He also tallied 18 tackles for loss and six pass breakups.
McKinley possesses the athleticism and arm length head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff like in their pass-rushers.
"He is that high energy, high competitive, high toughness guy. Very good speed, length... very, very upbeat, very competitive," Falcons GM Thomas Dmitroff said shortly after selecting McKinley.
McKinley had surgery in March for a torn labrum, and he is facing a reported four month recovery period. But Dmitroff said the team was comfortable with the recovery.
"We didn't have a problem with that. We knew that he was healing well. He was in a good situation. Our docs were good with it," he said.
It's an injury that he says occurred during a game in 2015, and that he played through for most of the past two seasons. He seemed to adjust well, as he recorded 10 sacks and was named first team All Pac 12 in 2016.
McKinley began his college career at Contra Costa College, but transferred to UCLA after one season. He began to show his pass rushing prowess during his junior year, recording 7.5 sacks. But his breakout season came during his senior season in 2016, when he recorded 18 tackles for loss, good for second in the Pac 12, to go with his 10 sacks.
Here's McKinley's draft profile courtesy of NFL.com's Lance Zierlein:
"Ascending edge prospect who racked up impressive TFL and sack numbers this year despite a relatively raw approach and skill set. He's a little stiff in his lower body, but flashes good athleticism once the ball is snapped. McKinley's motor is a translatable characteristic, but improved hand usage and pass rush mechanics are what could elevate his game to another level as a starting, 3-4 outside linebacker."