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2017 New Orleans Saints Draft Targets: Takkarist McKinley

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The Saints are heavily projected to get an edge day on Day 1 of the NFL Draft, so where does Takk McKinley fit in the conversation?

USC v UCLA Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

We continue our NFL draft profile series with UCLA defensive end Takkarist Mckinley, who the Saints could be targeting in the upcoming draft.

Measurables and Combine Results

  • Height: 6-foot-2
  • Weight: 250 pounds
  • Arm Length: 34 3/4”
  • Hands: 9 3/4”
  • 40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
  • Vertical: 33 inches
  • Bench Press: 24 reps
  • Broad Jump: 122.0 inches
  • 3-cone Drill: 7.48 seconds
  • 20-yard Shuttle: 4.62 seconds

Analysis

McKinley is first and foremost a great athlete for his position. He has speed (4.62) to go with good size and arm length, which is ideally what you look for in an edge rusher. To go with the good measurables, Mckinley has one of the highest motors in this year's draft. He simply doesn't take plays off, and he makes sure to give the offensive tackle his best on every single play. Whether this means chasing the quarterback in the backfield or holding his edge and taking down running backs at the sideline, you can expect to see it from McKinley.

Another impressive thing with McKinley is his rise in production. He had 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, and 61 total tackles in only 11 games. That is crazy good numbers and it's also a massive increase in production compared to his sophomore season where he only had 3.5 sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss in 13 games.

When it comes to weaknesses, hand usage seems to be the biggest for McKinley. He often struggles to disengage from his defender which hurts him in both the running and the passing game. You would like to see him swipe his hand more and develop an effective rip move, but it hasn't worked for him so far. He will have to work on this when he enters the NFL.

How does he fit the Saints?

The Saints have a big need at defensive end, and McKinley could be the guy to change that. He has the measurables you look for in a quality starter, and he plays his heart out every game. He does have some issues when it comes to technique, but since the Saints have good pass rushers at the other positions and McKinley would be 1-on-1 with offensive tackles most of the time, this would obviously put McKinley in the best situation to succeed. Furthermore, McKinley could learn from a guy like Cameron Jordan, who is excellent at using his hands and getting separation from the blocker.

There are some doubts about where McKinley will end up being drafted. Some see him as a mid-to-late 1st rounder but some don’t have him going off the board until the 2nd round. In my opinion, it’s highly unlikely that he will be available at 42nd, but chances are he could be on the board at No. 32. And if he is, the Saints should take a good look at him as he could help make the pass rush great again.