Former first-round pass rusher trying out for Jets

The New York Jets showcased one of the NFL’s formidable pass-rushing arsenals last season, ranking among the league’s top performers in sacks and pressure rates. With an impressive tally of 48 sacks, a top-five pressure rate, and multiple players notching at least five sacks each, the Jets’ defensive front commanded attention on the gridiron.

However, the offseason brought changes to the Jets’ pass-rushing landscape, marked by the departure of Bryce Huff in free agency and the acquisition of Haason Reddick via trade. Despite these moves, head coach Robert Saleh remains vigilant in bolstering the team’s pass-rushing prowess, especially with Reddick’s absence from minicamp due to a contractual dispute.


Enter Takkarist McKinley, the former first-round pick from the 2017 draft, who has joined the Jets’ minicamp on a trial basis, as reported by The New York Post’s Brian Costello. McKinley’s journey through the NFL has been marked by flashes of potential, coupled with challenges and setbacks.

Drafted by the Atlanta Falcons as the 26th overall pick from UCLA, McKinley displayed promise in his initial years, notching six and seven sacks in his first two seasons, respectively. However, his transition to a starting role in 2019 saw a dip in production, raising questions about his consistency and impact.

McKinley’s tenure with the Falcons ended amid contractual and performance-related issues, leading to stints with the Browns, Raiders, Rams, and Cowboys over subsequent seasons. While McKinley has demonstrated glimpses of productivity, concerns linger over his maturity and ability to consistently deliver on the field.

For the Jets, McKinley’s trial presents both opportunity and uncertainty. With a competitive edge rusher unit featuring Reddick, Jermaine Johnson, Michael Clemson, and Will McDonald IV, McKinley’s potential role remains undefined. However, his addition adds depth to the roster and provides insurance in the event of injuries or prolonged absences.

As McKinley aims to reignite his NFL career with the Jets, the outcome of his trial stint could have significant implications for both the team’s defensive dynamics and McKinley’s own professional trajectory.