That Takkarist McKinley is at the NFL Draft in Philadelphia today is unbelievable. Here is a guy who wasn’t even recruited by UCLA until he got to Contra Costa College. The only reason McKinley was there in the first place was because he failed to qualify academically for UC Berkeley.
But, that’s not even half the story of how McKinley ended up at UCLA. ESPN’s Dotun Akintoye wrote a lengthy piece discussing how his Aunt Peggy and his grandmother rescued him from an abusive situation in Mississippi as a baby. It also details how McKinley survived growing up in Richmond, CA, a city riddled by violence.
By the grace of God, McKinley ended up at Contra Costa College where he was recruited by Bruin defensive line coach Angus McClure. McClure helped get a few misclassified summer courses McKinley took in high school re-classified so that Takk could qualify academically. It also meant that he could play immediately at UCLA.
McKinley is a guy who has had to fight to get where he is today. He played on a bad shoulder for the better part of two seasons before finally having surgery after the NFL Combine. That’s the type of guy an NFL team will be getting when they select Takk McKinley sometime today or tomorrow.
McKinley is a relentless pursuer. He is a playmaker who is always closing on the ball. He is also determined to become one of the best at his craft. He still seems a bit raw and has great upside potential.
He can lack power in his punch. His upright pass rush can result in offensive linemen pancaking him at times. His frame prevents him from bulking up too much.
CBS Sports compares him to Whitney Mercilus of the Houston Texans while NFL.com compares him to Tamba Hali of the Kansas City Chiefs. Both of these players were selected in the first round when they were in the draft.
Takkarist McKinley Career Defensive Stats
Takkarist McKinley Career Sack Stats
McKinley raised eyebrows at the NFL Combine, especially after he disclosed that his Combine performance was done with an injured shoulder.
Some projections have him as high as a top ten pick. Takk should be a first-round pick tonight, but there are reports that his draft stock may be dropping.
So, he could fall to late in the first round or maybe even to the second round just like Myles Jack did last year.
There should be enough teams looking for someone like him that he will likely be picked in the first round.