INDIANAPOLIS – The Atlanta Falcons are still mulling over the possibility of picking up defensive end Takk McKinley's fifth-year option and have not reached a conclusion, general manager said Tuesday at the NFL combine.
"We haven't planned on anything yet, we're still talking about it," Dimitroff said. "Those aren't easy situations, as you can imagine. It doesn't always indicate your fondness for a player. Sometimes it has a lot to do with other situations, as you know. We've exercised [fifth-year options] over the years. We're big believers in keeping the people that we've drafted, of course, for the most part. You can, of course, make mistakes on that, so we'll continue to keep our eye on that."
McKinley, the Falcons' first-round draft pick in 2017, missed the final two games of the 2019 season after going on injured reserve due to a shoulder injury. He underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, the second time he's had the procedure in his career.
After recording six sacks as a rookie and seven sacks in his second season with the Falcons, McKinley registered just 3.5 sacks in 2019. Those low sack totals aren't entirely reflective of how close McKinley was to reaching the quarterback at times last season, but the drop in sack production is notable, nonetheless.
The team has already announced its intentions to part way with former first-round pick Vic Beasley this offseason after opting to pick up the edge rusher's fifth-year option for the 2019 season. Now, the team must make the same decision regarding McKinley.
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn echoed Dimitroff's statement regarding the team's current stance on the matter, saying the team is "still deciding." Quinn also seemed optimistic for McKinley's recovery from surgery and the type of player he can be in 2020.
"I think, No. 1, we're going to get the best version of him," Quinn said. "He's really putting out in terms of getting strong. To have a second shoulder surgery, that's a big deal. So, you want to make sure you're going to hit every marker just as strongly as you can, and he'll do that. He is off to a great start and hitting every marker that he can in the best spot. He's doing great."
The Falcons' 28 sacks last season were tied for the second-fewest in the league. After deciding not to pursue Beasley, it's expected that Atlanta will address their pass rush through either free agency or the NFL Draft.
We're one week away from the 2018 NFL Draft. Let's look back at some of our former draft picks in this frame-by-frame series. DE Takk McKinley was selected 26th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.