We all think Takkarist McKinley is going to be good. We may be basing that on college film and production, obvious natural talent, or the limited glimpses we’ve gotten of him this summer. Any way you slice it, he feels like a player who is more or less destined to be a solid starter at minimum.
The question is where we start pumping the brakes on the hype train, and Saturday night’s game only made it that much more difficult. McKinley got more run than in the second preseason game, and he used those snaps to show off his speed and athleticism off the edge, ending the game with some pressure, a fumble recovery, and a big tackle for loss. Aside from an actual sack or an interception, you couldn’t have asked much more of him for a preseason game.
It’s clear that Takk is going to be more ready to play come Week 1 than I would have thought possible, given his late start and injury, which means the only question left to ask is how good he’ll be when the games actually matter. We’ve seen evidence that his natural ability is going to carry him far in this league, and he may be able to muster the kind of rookie season that makes life easier for his fellow defensive linemen. If he looks this good in the regular season, in other words, an already burgeoning defense is going to be an even bigger problem for every Atlanta opponent.
All hail Takk!