Here’s where the Dallas Cowboys are at with DE Takk McKinley
Over the weekend, the Dallas Cowboys brought in former first-round draft pick Takkarist “Takk” McKinley for a visit. With Randy Gregory now in Denver, the team could use some extra help in the pass-rushing department and the interest in McKinley certainly makes sense.
The 26-year-old was drafted by none other than Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons back in 2017. Similar to Dante Fowler Jr., the connection to Quinn is likely a big reason the Cowboys wanted to meet with the DE. But the interest in McKinley came far before Quinn was a member of the Dallas coaching staff.
According to EVP Stephen Jones, the Cowboys were interested in the former UCLA product back in 2017, too. McKinley was taken by the Falcons just one selection before the front office ultimately ended up drafting Taco Charlton.
"“We had him in for [a pre-draft visit], loved him coming out. [Former Cowboys defensive coordinator] Rod [Marinelli] was a huge fan, and we were too, of the way he plays the game — play temperament, play style. And then of course the obvious, Dan coached him. We’ve got a lot of inside knowledge there, too. You can’t have enough guys who can rush the passer.”"
McKinley had a strong start in his first two years in Atlanta, collecting 13 sacks and 25 QB hits. From there, injuries began to hamper his career. He was waived in 2020 after a trade request and struggled to land with a team due to a groin injury. Last season, he signed a one-year deal with the Browns but had his season cut short after tearing his Achilles in December. His trip to Oxnard was his first meeting with any team since the tear.
Because of the injury, McKinley’s visit to Oxnard was solely to meet with the staff and obtain a physical. He did not work out with the team.
Cowboys bring in DE Takk McKinley for a visit but didn’t end up signing him over the weekend
So, where do things stand now? The visit was apparently positive. According to Michael Gehlken, the team choosing not to sign him over the weekend seemed to be part of the plan. The team felt good about their meeting and compared McKinley to their interest in Malik Hooker last offseason (Hooker also suffered a torn Achilles the season before joining Dallas).
In fact, Jones told reporters that McKinley is “probably ahead” (in terms of injury progress) of where Hooker was at this time last season.
As expected, McKinley is headed to meet with other teams now, with his first stop being with the Arizona Cardinals. The Cowboys did not seem urgent to sign the former Brown, but do know that the Quinn connection and past interest should help the team if they do decide they want to add another pass rusher to the roster.
McKinley may meet with other organizations besides the Cardinals, but the Cowboys are still interested. If he’s brought in, he will compete with Fowler Jr. and Tarell Basham for a DE depth spot.