After the Falcons drafted Takk McKinley with the No. 26 overall pick in the NFL Draft, the 21-year-old was asked to describe his game.
“I’m relentless,” McKinley said. “I’ve got heart. I do have the best motor in this class. I’m just somebody that goes hard no matter what. If it’s a screen pass, I’m chasing you down.”
All of those traits are essential to being an effective pass-rusher — exactly what McKinley has proved himself to be.
According to an ESPN study done using STATS LLC (Insider account required to read), McKinley recorded either a sack, pressure, hurry, knockdown, stuff, impact tackle or pass defensed (otherwise known as a splash play) on 24 percent of the snaps he played in his final season at UCLA.
To put that number into perspective, that total ranked third in the nation among defensive players with 100 or more splash plays, including fellow 2017 first-round draft picks Derek Barnett (22 percent), Solomon Thomas (19 percent) and Myles Garrett (18 percent).
The intensity McKinley plays the game with was so apparent on tape that he quickly became someone Dan Quinn put on his radar, hoping he’d get a chance to work with him, and so he will.
“The intensity that he wants to play the game with, I really respect that about him and admire that in his game,” Quinn said of McKinley. “His toughness, his speed… this guy is a dog competitor. He was somebody that we’ve watched for a long time, and certainly had in our sights. We hoped he would have a chance to contribute to our team, based on the speed, the finishing ability, the toughness, so we’re really pumped about having him here.”