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2017 NFL Draft results: Falcons pick Takkarist McKinley in the first round after trade up

For the second time in three years, the Falcons draft an edge rusher in the first round.

Colorado v UCLA Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

After deciding to make a big free agency splash at defensive tackle, the Falcons were bound to draft an edge rusher. They got their choice in the 2017 NFL Draft with the hyper-athletic Takkarist McKinley, and they had to move up to do so.

McKinley has as much upside as any player in this class, given his athletic profile and obvious talent, but he’s not as polished as say a Charles Harris or a Derek Barnett. He’s also more likely to play linebacker than defensive end in this scheme, but eventually he’ll be counted upon to be an asset as a pass rusher, regardless of where he winds up.

McKinley was clearly fired up to be drafted by Atlanta, the important thing to note is that he’s a plus athlete, a relentless and driven player, and someone who certainly has the ability to be an impact pass rusher at the next level if he’s coached up. I’m not 100% sure he’ll stay at defensive end, but I think that’s where he makes the most sense in Atlanta, and given a little time and guidance I think he’ll be a fine player at minimum. You can bet the Falcons saw more than just a fine starter when they traded up to take him, however.

Welcome to Atlanta, Takkarist McKinley.

Falcons Selections

Round 1, #31: Takkarist McKinley, DE/LB, UCLA

Round 2, #63

Round 4, #135

Round 5, #175

Top Remaining Needs

  1. Safety
  2. Guard
  3. Linebacker
  4. Tight End
  5. Defensive Tackle


How would you grade the Takkarist McKinley pick for the Falcons?

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  • 40%
    (1393 votes)
  • 42%
    (1472 votes)
  • 11%
    (410 votes)
  • 2%
    (93 votes)
  • 2%
    (102 votes)
3470 votes total Vote Now