The Atlanta Falcons select UCLA defensive end Takkarist (Takk) McKinley with the 26th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The Falcons traded up five spots to get the defensive end from Richmond, CA, who played in 28 games for UCLA after playing a season at Contra Costa College. McKinley transferred to UCLA in 2014 and recorded 99 total tackles, 28.0 tackles for loss, 16.0 sacks, six forced fumbles, and 10 passes defensed over his three-year collegiate career.
In 2016, McKinley was selected first-team All-Pac-12 by the coaches in the conference. McKinley recorded 18.0 tackles for loss during his final year with the Bruins, which was the second-best mark in the Pac-12. He also chipped in 61 total tackles, 10.0 sacks, and three forced fumbles, which were both third in the conference in 2016. During a game versus Utah, the 6-4 redshirt sophomore recorded 5.0 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks. According to Pro Football Focus, McKinley’s 16 combined sacks and quarterback hits were the most in the Pac-12 last season.
McKinley is the sixth player in Falcons history to be drafted out of UCLA – first defensive end. He is also the first player from the school to be drafted in the first round by the Falcons. This is the third time GM Thomas Dimitroff has taken a linebacker in the first round. This is Dimitroff’s 13th draft day trade since taking over in 2008.