Takkarist McKinley might have a new home before long.
The Falcons have had trade talks involving the former first-round pick, and other teams believe the UCLA product will be moved before Tuesday's trade deadline, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. No deal is imminent, Pelissero added. The Falcons ruled McKinley out for Thursday's game against the Panthers due to a groin injury.
The news isn't entirely surprising, because when viewing his performance over the course of his first three and a half seasons in the NFL, McKinley simply hasn't lived up to the first-round expectation. Atlanta declared as much when it declined to pick up McKinley's fifth-year option before the 2020 season.
After recording six sacks as a rookie and seven in his second season, McKinley's production fell significantly in 2019. The Next Gen Stats help lift the curtain on McKinley's impact, which was really looking up in 2018, a campaign in which McKinley recorded a disruption rate of 18.2 percent and a pressure rate of 15.6 percent. The disruption rate was the second-best mark in the entire NFL (minimum 300 pass-rushing snaps), and McKinley's biggest improvement needed was simply finishing the job by getting to the quarterback for the sack.
He went in the opposite direction in 2019, though, playing 99 less pass-rushing snaps and watching his pressure rate drop below 9 percent, which appeared to sour Atlanta on McKinley's future.
Interestingly, McKinley's Pro Football Focus grades have remained in the same range in the pass-rushing department, with the edge rusher breaking 70 just once (in 2017, his rookie season) before leveling off between 63 and 67 in the last three seasons.
McKinley has shown incremental improvement in the aforementioned Next Gen categories and currently owns his best overall defensive grade through seven weeks, perhaps explaining Atlanta's interest in selling relatively high while still possible.