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Report: Falcons traded up for Takkarist McKinley to leapfrog Dallas Cowboys

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Dallas was also thirsty for a pass rusher.

NFL: 2017 NFL Draft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Atlanta Falcons needed a pass rusher pretty badly, as we repeatedly argued in the run-up to the draft. To ensure they got the one they liked, they had to swap up a few spots, and now we have our most concrete reports that indicate why they felt they had to go up.

It was the Dallas Cowboys, of course. Charean Williams of the Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys were strongly interested in Takkarist McKinley. Atlanta either figured that out or had a strong hunch that caused them to move up. Dallas took Taco Charlton two picks later.

The Cowboys also had first-round interest in UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinely, but the Falcons jumped the Cowboys and picked him at No. 26. The Cowboys selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton at No. 28 and were satisfied with the choice.

McKinley is a better fit for Atlanta’s defense than Charlton, given his athleticism and pass rushing ability, so it’s little surprise the Falcons made him a priority. The Falcons have faced questions every time they trade up about whether they actually needed to do so, so hopefully this will help set a few minds at ease.