Rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley, this year’s first-round pick, took full load of practice last week and he came through with flying colors.
McKinley will make his NFL debut in the exhibition game against the Steelers at 4 p.m. Sunday.
McKinley, who was the 26th player taken in the NFL draft, has recovered from a surgically repaired right shoulder.
McKinley combination of speed and power has been impressive in practice. He didn’t play in the exhibition opener against Miami.
“It wouldn’t be something that you’d even notice in a workout,” Quinn said. “You wouldn’t feel that kind of strength. You see the athleticism and explosiveness. Sometimes you’ve got to see, not even in OTAs for that matter, you’ve got to see the physicality of pads and setting edges. That part of his game is really intense.”
McKinley has mostly played right defensive end for the Falcons, opposite of Vic Beasley. He dropped back from 10 to 20 percent of the time while at UCLA as a linebacker in their 3-4 alignment.
“We are trying to find out more,” Quinn said. “He’s been in two-point and in a three-point (stances.) Where is he going to be best featured with us?”
Wide receiver Julio Jones, running back Devonta Freeman and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel will not play against the Steelers.
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