Falcons top pick McKinley can’t practice yet
Injury is preventing Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley, the team’s first-round pick in the draft, from practicing during the team’s rookie minicamp. NFL rules bar him from participating in upcoming OTAs and a full-squad minicamp in June because classes are still in session at UCLA.
So what can McKinley do to get ready for his rookie season if he can’t practice and, after this weekend, can’t be with the team until training camp in late July?
“I’ve got the playbook,” McKinley said Friday after the first rookie practice. “All I am doing back in L.A. is rehab Monday through Saturday and get my shoulder right. I’m not taking any classes so it’s football, football and rehab. If I’ve got any questions to ask (Falcons coaches) it’s not hard to pick up the phone and call them.”
McKinley is recovering from March surgery to repair a right shoulder injury that he played with during his senior season at UCLA. He said there is no target date for when he will be able to return to football activities.
During Friday’s practice McKinley was limited to working on the side with trainers.
“It is very frustrating,” he said. “I like to compete. I like football. I don’t like to be on the sideline and just watch. I would rather be out there with my brothers making plays.
“I have got to get the shoulder right and, once it’s right, I will help the Atlanta Falcons to do what I can to win.”
The Falcons selected McKinley with the No. 26 overall pick in the draft. They expect him to help bolster a pass rush that improved last season but still had coach Dan Quinn using lots of stunts to generate consistent pressure.
McKinley is scheduled to return to Los Angeles on Sunday. NFL rules prohibit rookies from participating in offseason workouts (other than rookie camps) until their college finishes the current term. UCLA’s spring quarter ends on June 15, the same date as the final day of the Falcons’ minicamp.