Browns agree to terms with DE Takkarist McKinley (3.17.21)
For Immediate Release
March 17, 2021
Cleveland adds former 1st-round pick to group of pass rushers
By Andrew Gribble, ClevelandBrowns.com Senior Staff Writer
The Browns bolstered their group of pass rushers Wednesday with the addition of Takkarist McKinley.
McKinley, a former first-round pick out of UCLA, spent the majority of the past four seasons with the Falcons. He appeared in 49 games with 25 starts, four of which coming at the start of the 2020 season before an injury led to his exit from Atlanta. McKinley spent brief amounts of time with the Bengals and 49ers before finishing the season on injured reserve with the Raiders.
McKinley compiled 17.5 sacks and 45 hits on the quarterback during his time with Atlanta. His most sacks came in 2018, when he posted seven in his first year as a starter.
“Takk is a skilled young player with tremendous upside,” Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said. “We like his pass rush ability and the way he has gotten after the QB throughout his young career. Defensive line was a position that we felt we wanted to address during free agency, and we are excited to add Takk and the impactful tools he possesses to the group that will help make the plays we need along the line.”
McKinley had six sacks as a rookie, when he was utilized as a situational pass rusher. In 2019, McKinley was an every-game starter when healthy and finished the year with 3.5 sacks and 13 hits on the quarterback.
McKinley grew up in Oakland and attended UCLA, where he emerged as a first-round talent after a big senior season. McKinley landed with the Falcons at No. 26 — the same spot at which the Browns will be picking in 2021 — and provided one of the biggest moments in recent draft memory, as he clutched a picture of his grandmother and emotionally described how far he’d come.
McKinley joins a Browns defensive ends group led by All-Pro Myles Garrett. The Browns recently released Adrian Clayborn and veteran Olivier Vernon, who suffered an Achilles tear in Week 17, is a free agent. Cleveland’s defensive ends accounted for 24.5 of the team’s 38 sacks in 2020.