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NY Jets sign former first-round pick EDGE after tryout

Takkarist McKinley, NY Jets, Sign
Takkarist McKinley, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets bolster their defensive line with a former first-round pick

The New York Jets brought a group of players to minicamp on a tryout basis, and one of them has landed a spot on the team’s roster: Takkarist McKinley. The 2017 first-round pick is signing with the Jets, according to Connor Hughes.

McKinley, 28, last played for the Rams in 2022, although he spent time with the Cowboys during the summer of 2023.

Chosen 26th overall by Atlanta in the 2017 draft, the UCLA product played four seasons with the Falcons, recording 17.5 sacks, 45 quarterback hits, 79 tackles, and two forced fumbles in 49 games. McKinley played 11 games for the Browns in 2021 (2.5 sacks) and four for the Rams in 2022 (zero sacks).

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound edge rusher will reunite with Jets defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich, who was the Falcons’ linebackers coach for all four of McKinley’s seasons in Atlanta.

From a physical standpoint, McKinley offers the package of tools that New York tends to covet in its edge rushers. He’s got incredible length, boasting 34.75-inch arms (89th percentile among EDGE, per Mockdraftable), and on top of that, he’s got top-tier speed, running the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds (90th percentile). He projects as a good fit in the Jets’ aggressive 4-3 scheme.

In New York, McKinley will compete for a roster spot at the bottom of a stacked defensive line depth chart. If he can recapture the six-to-seven sack ability he displayed earlier in his career (6.0 sacks in 2017, 7.0 sacks in 2018), perhaps McKinley can land a role on the team as a situational pass rusher.

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