Atlanta Falcons: 2017 NFL Draft Review
Round 1, Pick 26 – Takkarist McKinley (DE, UCLA)
The 2016 Atlanta Falcons defense was too often pedestrian, always lacking a consistent force off of the edge. Vic Beasley showed flashes of brilliance and led the NFL in sacks with 15.5, but many offenses could still do whatever they wanted against the developing Atlanta defense.
To address this need, the Falcons selected Takkarist McKinley, defensive end out of UCLA, in the first round. McKinley gave an emboldened speech about his grandmother following his selection, winning the hearts of Atlanta fans before even stepping onto the field.
However, Atlanta moved up to select McKinley. The Falcons traded their first round pick (31), third round pick (91), and seventh round pick (249) to the Seattle Seahawks for their first round pick (26). This trade has been criticized as a reach and overreaction by some, but it made sure the Falcons could get their guy.