This draft has impressive depth at defensive end with Myles Garrett taking the headlines. But the other talent at this position can’t be ignored. Several teams have needs to improve their edge rush. Takkarist McKinley could be that option teams are looking for.

Combine Results

McKinley was out there to prove a point at the combine, he definitely did that by putting up an impressive performance.

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 250 lbs

40-Yard Dash: 4.59 seconds

Bench Press: 24

Vertical Jump: 33 inches

Broad Jump: 122 inches

Strengths

For many teams, McKinley is an exciting prospect that offers what many teams could be missing. Being one of the better edge defenders in the draft, teams will notice one thing straight away. His speed. Running 4.59 and weighing 250 lbs at the combine is nothing short of impressive.

Explosive speed is what makes him an exciting player to watch. This speed in especially prevalent in his speed rush against opposing teams. With this being his greatest rush move in his inventory, McKinley has perfected it. When facing offensive lineman, on many of occasions he is able to use his initial burst to great advantage in being able to turn the corner and leave the linemen in his wake.

McKinley seems to work like a motor, he keeps going until he has got to his destination. Constantly charging towards the ball, he will give 100% whenever he is on the field. Getting past his blockers leaves the quarterback worrying for his safety. Speed and long strides makes it easy for McKinley to eat up ground and make those important tackles. A combination of speed and the continuous motor help to provide an increased tackle radius, allowing for a large presence on the field. Playmaker is what McKinley is.

The versatility of McKinley will appeal to many teams. Being able to perform at either 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE gives teams an advantage in their locker that could make the difference. Put him on the right team, McKinley could prove to be a special player.

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Weakness

One of the glaring weaknesses of McKinley is his lack of hand movement. With his speed being his primary weapon, teams scouting him for games could look to neutralise this. When his speed is neutralised, McKinley seems to lack a second move. Watching some of his tape where his speed is neutralised you can really see this issue prevail. Coming into the NFL, this is an area that could really cause him problems.

Another issue with McKinley is that on occasions he can lack that push and drive to get past lineman. His upright stance makes it difficult to produce power to beat offensive lineman and makes it easier for the opposing team to deal with. Adding to his upright stance, the opposing lineman are able flatten him, making his presence of the field limited. With their being an issue with his punch, it almost makes his long arms irrelevant.

With McKinley having surgery after the combine to solve an injury problem, resulting in him being out four months. He will be ready for training camp but many GMs will see this as a risky pick due to the nature of surgery and how players may not return to their former glory.

 

The Verdict

McKinley is an exciting but raw prospect in this draft. Many teams will see him as a project that needs his game improving. But I feel that teams will be willing to take that risk. McKinley’s speed stands out massively and if teams are able to develop other areas of his game, he will only prove to be a deadly force.

RAF Big Board Ranking: #25

Draft Prediction: I can see McKinley going between pick 25 and 30. The Steelers would be an ideal option at 30, as this is a need of theirs. I would be somewhat surprised if he drops into the second round.

Read more from Callum Seniuk