Takkarist McKinley, or Takk for short, was drafted 26th overall by the Atlanta Falcons and he’s one of the NFL’s budding stars. Here are a few reasons why you should keep an eye on him this season.
NFL draft speech
Takk McKinley made a promise to his grandmother that he'd go to the NFL. He walked on stage with a framed photo of her. pic.twitter.com/kEgeWxMUXc— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 28, 2017
Takk had an epic moment at the NFL draft, carrying a photograph of his grandmother on stage with him to shake hands with Roger Goodell. While on stage, he emotionally described the promise he made to his grandmother on her deathbed:
I told her before she passed away I was going to win my dream. I was going to go D1; I was going to get out of Richmond. I was going to get out of Oakland. I was going to go to the NFL. I made that promise to her, man. Thirty seconds later she passed away. And this is why I do it for her.
After he let a few curses slip, he simply told reporters, “Fine me later.”
New #Falcons LB Takk McKinley famously said on stage “fine me later” after cursing post-pick. No worries. Source said he won’t be fined— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 1, 2017
Takk was raised by his grandma in Richmond, CA. According to the LA Times,
McKinley had every reason to fail. His father was never a presence in his life and his mother abandoned him when he was 5, reappearing briefly when he was 17 only to vanish again. That left Collins [his grandmother], an aunt and a cousin to nurture McKinley through childhood and adolescence.
Takk and his grandmother had a close relationship, which is probably why he wanted her to be part of his draft night, even if just in spirit:
Takk is a big guy, measuring 6’2, 250 pounds. During his senior season at UCLA, he recorded 10 sacks, 18 tackles for loss, and six pass breakups. He received first-team All-Pac-12 honors for his excellent senior season. Despite a shoulder injury, he jumped to the top of draft boards heading into 2017.
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn figures that Takk will be a huge addition to the Falcons’ nickel package. Having a consistent pass rusher on the edge will come in handy when the Falcons play teams with huge pass games like the Packers.
If you aren’t rooting for this guy yet, maybe his amazing dance moves will change your mind:
Takk loves ramen. Just look at him here clutching a 12-pack to his chest. He tweeted about ramen so much so that Maruchan congratulated him after he was drafted.
Oh man...I'm totally in on drafting @Takk McKinley.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) February 23, 2017
Going all out for the Ramen endorsement. pic.twitter.com/JCzjEIPv5a
Congrats on building on the promises you made to your Grandma! Now— Maruchan (@Maruchan_Inc) April 28, 2017
grab a bowl of @Maruchan_Inc ramen and get to the quarterback!
Takk has a French bulldog named Codeine. His friends told him that he should name the pooch after a character from his favorite show, SpongeBob SquarePants, but Takk said he woke up one day and decided that he liked the name Codeine:
Takk McKinley has come a long way from where he started, and he’s making a name for himself in the NFL. Watch Takk this season.