Falcons rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley was drafted to help terrorize quarterbacks.
McKinley, who will play right defensive end in the Falcons’ nickel defense, will have simple orders in his first NFL game.
“It will be ‘do what we do,’” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said of his message.
The Falcons traded up to draft McKinley, who had shoulder surgery in March. He missed the offseason program because of the NFL’s academic rules for schools on the quarter system.
Once with the team, McKinley was eased into the action and played well in limited exhibition-game duty.
“He came in late, and we’re very pleased with where he is right now,” defensive coordinator Marquand Manuel said.
McKinley wanted to be ready for the regular season and deleted all of his social-media accounts. To focus on football, he decided to impose the social-media blackout.
“It had to go,” McKinley said of his Twitter and Instagram accounts. “Sometimes, social media and video games can become a distraction.”
McKinley said he wasn’t upset by the sometimes obnoxious folks on social media.
“It just became a distraction for me,” McKinley said.
The Falcons hope that he can disrupt quarterbacks playing opposite of Vic Beasley in the nickel defense.