Falcons welcome top draft pick McKinley back to football – California News

Falcons welcome top draft pick McKinley back to football – California News



FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Pass-rushing specialist Takkirist McKinley practiced for the first time with a surgically repaired shoulder.

And he did not cuss or dance.

He was again excited, though, much as he was on draft night when he used expletives after the Atlanta Falcons chose him No. 26, and when he posted social media of him celebrating his signing bonus.

McKinley has been limited by the team while rehabbing from March 6 surgery for torn labrum and fractured shoulder socket.


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“It felt great. I was nervous,” he said Tuesday. “It’s like my first time in pads since November, so being able to play football again felt real good.”

Atlanta traded up to pick the 6-foot-2, 250-pound McKinley, who had 10 sacks and 18 tackles for lost yardage as college senior.

Coach Dan Quinn envisions him lining up at defensive end/linebacker opposite Vic Beasley, who led the NFL last season with 15.5 sacks.

On Tuesday, McKinley flashed an impressive bull rush in individual drills, and later beat Atlanta starting left tackle Jake Matthews to sack NFL MVP quarterback Matt Ryan in 11-on-11 full contact work.

“For him, it was good to be with the guys, his teammates, and playing,” Quinn said. “He hasn’t done that for a while so … playing some real football, not just drills by himself, he’s just getting started.”

McKinley played his last two seasons at UCLA with the injured right shoulder, and had surgery after the NFL scouting combine.

He was not part of the Falcons’ spring activities because of his rehab and an NFL rule barring rookies if they are still in college. UCLA was not out until June 15.

Doctors cleared…

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