Former Falcons first-round pick has free agent tryout with rival Saints

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Former Falcons first-round pick Takkarist McKinley is having a free agent tryout with Atlanta’s rivals, the New Orleans Saints.

This comes after the club placed Payton Turner on the injured reserve, but Takk is likely only a practice squad candidate after the Cowboys released him earlier this summer.

McKinley made a splash immediately upon the Falcons selecting him 26th in the 2017 NFL Draft, showing emotion on the stage following the pick, but he never lived up to expectations. Across four seasons with the Falcons, he recorded only 17.5 sacks in 49 games.

Atlanta didn’t exercise his fifth-year option, and he bounced around the league over the next couple of years, spending time in Cincinnati, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Cleveland.

His most productive stint came with the Browns, where he recorded 2.5 sacks in 11 games. He assumed a prominent role, playing 43% of the defensive snaps. However, a torn Achilles ended that season. To be fair, injuries have somewhat derailed his career.

Most recently, he spent time with the Rams last year before landing with the Cowboys. He couldn’t stick around Dallas, even with his former head coach and current Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn likely giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Takk McKinley is one draft pick the Falcons would like to have back and has now become synonymous with Atlanta missing out on T.J. Watt. Hindsight is always 20/20, so there’s no reason to harp on spilled milk.

We wish Takk the best in New Orleans. Hopefully, he can carve out a role with the Saints and prove effective on Sundays again… just not against the Falcons.

Photographer: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire


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