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5 things to know about new Browns DE Takkarist McKinley

The Browns look to help McKinley channel what he delivered for the Falcons in his first two NFL seasons


Takkarist McKinley, a 2017 first-round pick who had 13 sacks in his first two NFL seasons, has agreed to terms on a deal with the Browns.

Here are five things to know about Cleveland's newest edge rusher addition to the defensive line.

1. McKinley, the 26th overall pick in the 2017 draft, has spent most of his four NFL seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He's appeared in 49 games and has recorded 17.5 sacks, 79 tackles — 22 of them went for a loss — and 45 quarterback hits. At 6-foot-2 and 265 pounds, McKinley, 25, still has room to enter his prime and can provide a big boost to the Browns' 2021 defensive line.

2. McKinley began his college career at the JUCO level at Contra Costa College, where his 10-sack freshman season earned him an opportunity to transfer to UCLA. He totaled six sacks in his first two seasons with the Bruins and broke out as a senior when he plowed through offensive lines for a 10-sack season. He entered the 2017 draft widely projected as a top-5 defensive end and landed with the Falcons, who traded up to draft McKinley and help him fulfill his promise he made to his grandmother moments before she passed away in 2011. McKinley carried a picture of her on stage after the draft pick was announced.

3. McKinley's production was on an upward trajectory during his first two NFL seasons. After notching six sacks and two forced fumbles as a rookie, he recorded a career-best seven sacks and 15 quarterback hits in 2018. He racked up 2.5 sacks against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 that season and ended the year as the Falcons' sack leader.

4. The Falcons declined to pick up the fifth-year option for McKinley after his 2019 season, when he accrued 3.5 sacks and was placed on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury in Week 15. He played in only four games in 2020 and was waived by Atlanta in November. The San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals each claimed McKinley, but he never officially joined the teams after he failed physicals due to a groin injury. The Las Vegas Raiders ultimately signed McKinley, but he never played in a game and spent the season on Injured Reserve.

5. The Browns reportedly attempted to claim McKinley off waivers three times last season. With the departures of Adrian Clayborn and pending free agency of Olivier Vernon — two defensive ends who played the majority of snaps opposite Myles Garrett last season — the Browns had a sizable hole to fill on the other end of the defensive line this offseason. McKinley is a young edge rusher for the Browns, who made McKinley their second defensive addition of the offseason after reaching an agreement with safety John Johnson III. Now, they'll attempt to put McKinley back on track to the same level of success he found at the beginning of his career.

Check out photos of defensive end Takk McKinley

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