Atlanta Falcons: Takkarist McKinley, How to Feel the Morning After
There were several different emotions on display after the Atlanta Falcons traded up and selected Takkarist McKinley in the 2017 NFL Draft
Rumors leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft had the Atlanta Falcons moving up and targeting a pass rusher. That should have meant the shock would have been minimal when Atlanta traded their first and third round pick to move up to number 26. The shock also should have been tempered when UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley was the selection. It wasn’t though.
Despite the belief being that Atlanta needed more help on defense there was a large faction of fans that wanted to see improvement on the offensive line — preferably at guard. That group of fans was a little peeved at McKinley being selected at 26, rather than the best guard prospect in the draft, Forrest Lamp of Western Kentucky.
It didn’t ease their suffering any when they learned that Lamp made it through the first round, which means Atlanta could have stayed put and selected the best guard, and gone into Friday night’s draft with two selections instead of one.
No matter how anyone feels about that, the move is made and now Atlanta fans can start to get to know the emotional McKinley, who already is expecting a fine for dropping an F-bomb during his first interview.
Takk showed incredible passion in that interview in which he held up a picture of his late grandmother throughout the whole thing. He promised to showcase the best motor in this class according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.
"“I’m relentless,” he said via McClure. “I’ve got heart. I’ve got the best motor in this class. A lot of guys don’t run to the ball. They just jog to the ball. Or a lot of guys don’t jog to the ball. For me, if a quarterback is scrambling, I want to be right there in his face scrambling with him to force a bad throw. … I’m somebody that’s going to go hard no matter what.”"
That relentless motor is the reason to be stoked about this pick, even if you are unhappy they surrendered a third round selection to secure it. McKinley is raw, but he is lightning fast off the snap. He’s also got an incredibly high ceiling, and should take coaching well from a defensive guru like head coach Dan Quinn.
And as excited as McKinley was, Quinn may have been right behind him. The Falcons official Twitter account showed the coach’s reaction to the selection of McKinley.
For those worried about the pick, just watch Quinn’s reaction a few times. He’s proven to be more defensive-minded than any of us, and his excitement about the talented rusher should make any fan feel at ease.
Must Read: 2017 NFL Draft: Twitter Reacts to Atlanta Falcons Pick of Takkarist McKinley
Now of course a player this hyped is only available at number 26 if there’s a red flag. In his case it happened to be recovering from a shoulder surgery. The hope of the Falcons is that he will be ready to go by training camp, which would be a good sign. The injury may slow his rookie progress some, but by season’s end the Falcons could have a formidable duo with McKinley and fellow edge rusher Vic Beasley, Jr.