4 Players That Need To Step Up For Atlanta Falcons This Season

Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Matt Ryan (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Takkarist McKinley (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

2. Takk McKinley

Since coming into the league, as a first-round pick in 2017, Takk McKinley has been a pretty decent player. In his rookie season, McKinley recorded 6 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 10 QB hits. McKinley’s second year was a slight improvement, with 7 sacks, 7 tackles for loss, and 15 QB hits. Not bad numbers for the first two seasons in the NFL. Compare it to TJ Watt, a player taken after McKinely in 2017, who has 20 sacks in his first two seasons. Charles Harris, a player taken before McKinley in the 2017 draft, has three sacks for his first two seasons. McKinley has been right in the middle.

It’s not about the production with McKinley. He produces decent numbers. It’s about great numbers. McKinley has the talent and potential to be a great pass rusher. Right now, he’s a good pass rusher who is underachieving. That can be easily corrected, however, with one great season. The Falcons need a great season from McKinley to take the step back into the playoffs. McKinley needs to hit double-digit sacks, at the least. A season of 12-15 sacks, 10-12 tackles for loss, and double-digit QB hits would be ideal for McKinley and the Falcons.