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Takk McKinley is fully healthy to begin training camp

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Second year defensive end Takkarist McKinley had been recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, but appears to be “full go” at the start of training camp.

Minnesota Vikings v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

News, highlights, and other tidbits of information have been pouring in from the first on-field practice of the Falcons 2018 training camp. We already reported the big story on LT Jake Matthews received a monster 5-year, $75M extension, and that’s not the only positive takeaway from the first day of training camp.

Accoring to the Falcons’ Kelsey Conway, Takkarist McKinley is “full go” for the start of training camp. That’s great news, as Takk was not able to participate fully in OTAs and minicamp during his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. His timeline for a return to full participation in practice was always right around the beginning of training camp, but it’s still good to hear that there were no setbacks.

The Falcons will be depending on the second year edge defender to take on a major role in 2018 alongside Vic Beasley. Adrian Clayborn, the previous #2 pass rusher, departed in free agency to sign with the Patriots. Takk showed a ton of promise in 2017, piling up 6.0 sacks in a rotational role despite the aforementioned shoulder injury. He also looked pretty darn stout against the run and gained a ton of fans with his fiery on-field persona.

A healthy Takk McKinley will be one of the major keys to improving a Falcons’ pass rush that was just slightly better than league average in 2017 (Atlanta was T-13th in the league in sacks with 39). The team will also be hoping that Vic Beasley returns to form and that Jack Crawford can bounce back in a major way from a season-ending injury in 2017. If all the pieces come together, this pass rush—and defense as a whole—could turn into something quite special in 2018.

What are your thoughts on the news that Takk is healthy to begin training camp? How do you feel about the Falcons’ pass rush as a whole? Can the new-look defensive front help elevate the defense into the top-5?