One of the most highly talented pass rushers in the 2017 NFL Draft is about to hit a major set back. UCLA DE/OLB Takkarist McKinley will undergo surgery for his right shoulder on Monday. The surgery will keep him out for 4-6 months, which could extend through training camp of whichever team drafts him. However, as reported by Jeff Legwold of ESPN, McKinley will still participate in all Combine drills when the defensive lineman take to the field on Sunday. On waiting until after the Combine to get surgery instead of going before and sitting out the Combine, McKinley said at his Combine interview on Saturday, “"Why get surgery before the combine? This is a dream come true to me. I'm here to knock it out."
According to Legwold, McKinley suffered the injury while playing against Arizona State in 2015, but has played through the injury since. McKinley said on Saturday, “My agent asked if anything was wrong with me, and I said I had a shoulder that was sometimes bothering me...I had an MRI and the doctor was pretty much amazed I had played with it. Me, I just told my trainers at UCLA, 'Just tape me up I'm ready to go.’”
McKinley was already well regarded as a freak athlete, but playing through a shoulder injury for this long is extremely impressive. It is an uncommon decision to see a prospect of McKinley’s caliber be a full go for the Combine despite being set to have surgery immediately afterward.
It was already unlikely for the Ravens to take McKinley with the 16th pick, but the Ravens have to be hoping that the UCLA product slides to the second round, hopefully all the way down to the Ravens. Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome surely would be jumping for joy is he is able to land McKinely in the second round. It will be intriguing to watch McKinley’s performance when he takes the field on Sunday, as well as how his stock changes in the weeks leading up to the draft.