One of the most popular mock draft picks for the Green Bay Packers over the past few weeks has been UCLA edge rusher Takkarist McKinley. He checks all the boxes that the Packers and general manager Ted Thompson tend to look for in a first-round player:
- Plays a premier position
- Good size (6’2”, 258)
- Played at a Pac-12 school
- Played at UCLA, specifically
- Youth (turned 21 in November)
- Big production in his final college season (10 sacks, 18 TFL)
However, in two and a half weeks, we might be able to add “elite athlete” to the checklist, which is another key component of Thompson’s evaluation of linemen and edge rushers. A report from Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com on Wednesday indicates that league sources expect McKinley to simply go bonkers at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Here are some of the comments from the report:
McKinley is expected to run 4.5 seconds in the forty and could get as low as 4.45.
The athletic defender ran the 100 meters in under 10.70 seconds in high school. His vertical jump is expected to be at least 37 inches and -- despite the shoulder issue -- I’m told McKinley should finish the bench press with reps in the mid-20s.
Those numbers would be incredible for a pass-rushing prospect and would make him one of the most explosive players at his position in recent years. In the last three years, only two edge rushers ran under 4.55 seconds in the 40 in Indianapolis: Jadeveon Clowney and Vic Beasley. Both of those players were drafted in the top 10 of their respective drafts (Clowney 1st overall in 2014 and Beasley 8th in 2015).
If McKinley runs in the upper 4.4 range at Lucas Oil Stadium, that could vault him up draft boards and well out of range of the Packers at the 29th pick. One thing is for sure - he’s a player you’ll want to watch closely when he takes the field to perform his drills on Sunday, March 5th.