Falcons trade up to 26 to select Takkarist McKinley


The Atlanta Falcons moved up in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft to target a pass rusher.

The Falcons traded with the Seattle Seahawks to snag defensive end Takkarist McKinley with the No. 26 selection.

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The Falcons gave up the No. 31 pick, a third-rounder (95) and seventh-round (249) pick to swipe the UCLA product.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound pass rusher is one of the relentless defensive players entering the draft. McKinley brings speed and explosiveness off the edge to disrupt the quarterback.

The McKinley selection continues to build a young defense for Dan Quinn. He will pair with Vic Beasley and last season's rookie linebackers Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell to form a young, athletic nucleus.

The Falcons have the fewest sacks in the NFL in the last two seasons (53), per NFL Research.

After an epic Super Bowl collapse against Tom Brady, McKinley's selection immediately upgrades the Falcons' ability to affect the passer.

Before his grandmother passed away, McKinley promised her that he would make it to the NFL. OnThursday night, he fulfilled that promise.