The Dallas Cowboys need to add an explosive pass rusher in the 2017 NFL Draft. UCLA Bruin's defensive end Takkarist McKinley is an explosive pass rusher.
Seems like a match made in heaven, right?
Well, things got complicated this week when it was announced McKinley will need shoulder surgery after the NFL Combine, which runs from March third to March sixth. Takk reportedly has a torn labrum and broken glenoid (yeah, I hadn't heard of it either), but will somehow still be able to complete the full combine workout.
DE/OLB Takkarist McKinley said he'll have shoulder surgery (torn labrum, broken glenoid) after full NFL combine workout. 5-6 month recovery.
The injury sounds painful enough, but then to read that he bench pressed 230 pounds 24 times on the same day his impending surgery was announced…
FWIW, Takkarist McKinley said he did 24 reps benching 230 pounds today despite needing surgery on his right shoulder
Good grief, what a stud.
While this is impressive, shoulder surgery will impede Takk's ability to participate in the offseason program of the team which drafts him. A five to six month recovery also puts Takk on track to return around August/September, which would put him out of training camp, and possibly some of the preseason.
So, while McKinley should be ready for the start of the 2017 regular season, it's hard to imagine he'd be prepared to play an NFL game without any organized offseason work.
How Will This Affect Takk's Draft Status?
Takkarist McKinley has had an odd journey to the 2017 NFL Draft. Originally thought of as a late first rounder who could be the perfect fit in Dallas, Takk then jumped on everyone's boards and was anticipated to be a top 20 pick in the draft.
Then rumors started brewing that McKinley, who will excel in physical testing due to his athletic prowess, could jump as high as a top 15 pick if impressive enough at the NFL Combine.
Now, it appears that Takk will probably be on the board when the Cowboys select 28th overall. The dynamic, explosive quarterback-sacker we had all hoped for, McKinley could be the missing piece to a Super Bowl run.
But Is He Still Worth A First Round Pick From Dallas?
This is the million dollar question.
In my scouting report of Takk over at Slant Sports, I marveled at his athleticism and speed around the edge. However, I also noted how raw of a rusher Takk is, stating that he will need both time and NFL coaching to better use his hands and improve on his technique.
Once these things happen, Takkarist McKinley can be an absolute stud.
But if McKinley is expected to miss all of the offseason coaching, I then have to question if drafting him in the first round makes sense for the Cowboys.
Unlike some other teams, Dallas believes they are one key defensive playmaker away from a championship. If you have a chance to add that playmaker in round one, you have to do it. McKinley may be a developmental-type player in year one if this shoulder surgery holds him up, however.
Do The Cowboys Have Time To Wait For A Player?
Well, just one year ago the Cowboys willingly drafted a defender who they knew would likely miss his entire rookie season in Jaylon Smith. Oh, and it happened just six spots later than the Cowboys current first round pick. Considering both the Jaylon Smith pick and other recent Cowboys round two draft risks, it's hard to imagine Dallas being scared off by Takk's injury.
Dallas has a young core, and one that we expect will be together for a long time. Knowing this, taking a player who may be limited his rookie season while expecting a tremendous payoff later makes sense. However, things change fast in the NFL, and the Cowboys might be smart to strike while the iron is hot, and the championship window appears wide open.
There are a lot of angles to view this Takkarist McKinley situation from. We are still without a lot of information, and it is impossible to predict how the board will fall. It is also very possible that Takk is their number one rated player available on the board come the 28th overall pick, which would make the decision obvious.
Hopefully, more medical information will be learned at the Combine to clear everything up. At this point, however, I would be hesitant to take Takk in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. If by some miracle he falls to Dallas in round two, then he should absolutely be the pick.
If it turns out that Takkarist McKinley will recover faster than expected, or if the Cowboys feel he can still make the necessary impact needed his rookie season, then I would have no problem with him being their first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Knowing how Dallas drafts, I doubt they'll be scared off by shoulder surgery if they truly want McKinley to be a Cowboy.