Takk McKinley is the most anticipated rookie in this draft class, and we may be lucky enough to finally see him on the field against the Steelers in less than a week. That’s a cheerful note for every Falcons fan, while the note I’m about to sound is...maybe cheerful? I’m not quite sure.
At Sunday’s practice, media noted that Takk was out on punt returns, playing guard. Dan Quinn said he’s going to try McKinley out on returns, given his speed, which is perfectly logical and sound. It would be unusual to do so with a less than fully healthy first round selection, however.
Falcons giving first-round pick Takk McKinley a closer look -- on special teams. https://t.co/Zv6VkXIYFj— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 13, 2017
You can look at this one of two ways. The first is that Takk is healthy, the team is just looking to get him some work, and this will all amount to a hill of beans in the regular season when the Falcons need McKinley on defense. As Vaughn McClure notes in his piece above, that’s more or less what happened with Vic Beasley at first.
The second possibility is that McKinley, who is a little behind the eight ball doe to his injury and facing a lot of competition at defensive end, regardless of his obvious talent and draft status, is getting a legitimate look on special teams. If that’s the case, perhaps Atlanta’s bracing for McKinley to ease his way into significant snaps, and they’ll actually utilize him on teams until he’s ready. Keith Armstrong would probably love to have him there.
I’d bet on the first outcome, but it’s an interesting note, one worth keeping an eye on during the upcoming preseason games.