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Rams add former first round pick Takkarist McKinley

The Los Angeles Rams add edge rusher depth and sign

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams added depth at edge rusher on Wednesday afternoon. After losing Benton Whitley to the Kansas City Chiefs, the team made a corresponding move and signed Takkarist McKinley off of the Tennessee Titans practice squad.

The Titans had just signed McKinley to their practice squad on Sunday prior to their Money Night showdown with the Buffalo Bills. After losing Whitley to the Chiefs, the Rams needed to add depth at edge rusher until Daniel Hardy returns from injured reserve.

McKinley is a former first round pick from the Atlanta Falcons who hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. While he had a combined 13 sacks in 2017 and 2018, he’s only had a seven total sacks since. McKinley signed a one-year contract with the Cleveland Browns prior to the 2021 season. The former 26th overall pick played in 11 games, starting two of them and recorded 2.5 sacks.

With the Browns, McKinley finally found a role, but suffered a torn achilles in a Money Night loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in late December. The 2021 season was arguably one of McKinley’s best in the NFL. In just 214 pass rush snaps, he had 25 pressures which was his most since 2019 according to Pro Football Focus.

It’ll be interesting to see how effective McKinley is following his achilles injury last season. A torn achilles is devastating for any athlete at any position, but that’s especially the case at edge rusher where players typically rely on explosiveness.

McKinley will reconnect with Raheem Morris from their time in Atlanta. While Morris was primarily coaching wide receivers at the time, there will certainly be some familiarity there. Morris was the defensive coordinator for the Falcons in McKinley’s final season with the team in 2020.