UCLA Football: NFL Draft Profiles-Takkarist McKinley

Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; UCLA defensive end Takkarist Mckinley speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 4, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; UCLA defensive end Takkarist Mckinley speaks to the media during the 2017 combine at Indiana Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports /

 In the final 2017 NFL Draft Profile for GoJoeBruin.com we take a look at the consensus top prospect from the UCLA Football team, OLB/DE Takkarist McKinley.

Talk about a strange journey from junior college, to the UCLA Football team to potential first round pick. Takkarist McKinley is everything Hollywood would love to make a movie about. His arrival on the UCLA campus was a major surprise especially four games into the 2014 season. However his impact was almost immediate.

In his first year and in nine games he had 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks while learning both the UCLA defensive system and stepping his game up against PAC-12 opponents.

Flash forward to his 2016 campaign and he racked up 18 tackles for loss and ten sacks on the season. Not bad for a guy who still hasn’t reached his full potential.

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Takk weighed in at 6’2 250lbs which is slightly short for a traditional 4-3 DE but his weight is just about right. While he does possess NFL size, it is his speed that really sets him apart and helps him total so many sacks. Running a 4.59 at 250lbs is nothing to shrug off and only two other D linemen ran faster 40 times, one of those guys running it at almost 20lbs lighter.

His initial burst is phenomenal but his relentless style of play helps him make tackles way downfield. He can beat offensive tackles with his first step but was also has the stamina to stay with the play to get effort sacks.

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He’s a solid run defender and does a good job of not becoming engulfed by offensive linemen. Having a guy either at 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE that isn’t just a pass rush specialist gives you a major advantage as far as being forced to substitute is concerned.

Takk is still very raw and possesses potentially the highest ceiling of any pass rusher in this year’s NFL Draft. He also has position flexibility and not just between OLB or DE.

Takk did see some time as a blitzing ILB for UCLA in 2016 and there is a small chance that he could make that move permanent at the next level though that is purely speculation at this point.

Production despite rawness, explosion despite speed and versatility mean the arrow is only pointing up on his draft stock.


It is more technical but Takk didn’t have the best agility times at the NFL Combine this year. His scores would suggest he has some stiffness in his hips and can’t bend as well as some of the other top prospects at his position. He also doesn’t always use his hands to the best of his benefit but that of course is party of his raw nature.

He did have surgery immediately following the combine which will sideline him at least for the next four months. While he will be ready for training camp, a GM will be taking a risk on a guy coming off injury and there is no guarantee that he will be the same player he was before the surgery. Despite it being an injury he was able to play through, the risk is there.

 Final Analysis and Prediction

Takk is going to be a first round pick and that’s pretty much a lock at this point. There are a plethora of teams looking at him in a variety of ways and despite the surgery, he’s shown the ability to not only get after the passer but to find and bring down ball carriers.

He’s raw and there’s no way around that. While his ceiling is incredibly high, I’ll argue his floor is still first round worthy. you bring him onto your team and you’ll get a high intensity guy who can provide impact plays at least three to four times a game.

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Despite being an athlete with tons of versatility, he’s likely going to end up as an OLB at the next level and has shown he can play off the ball.

Projected Team Pick- Green Bay Packers