Rams shock with 2nd pass rusher. Is defensive flex coming?

Mandatory Credit: Curtis Compton/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Curtis Compton/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports /
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LA Rams Roster Takk McKinley
Mandatory Credit: Takk McKinley /

Time for the Rams D to a-Takk opposing quarterbacks

McKinley is no slouch when it comes to getting after opposing quarterbacks, boasting 20 quarterback sacks, 53 quarterback hits, and 80+ quarterback pressures over his five-year NFL career. He has been very flexible in his usage, filling both a starting role as well as a rotational role over the course of his career. He had one down season in the Cleveland Browns defense in 2021. Prior to that, he was a respectable defender for the Atlanta Falcons.

No doubt his relationship with LA Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and his familiarity with Morris’ defense played a significant role in his signing on with the Rams. But he played in Morris’ 4-3 defense as a defensive end. Does that translate into a 3-4 defensive end role for McKinley? Or will he move out to a two-point stance as an outside linebacker, a role where this defense truly needs fresh legs?

Takk McKinley has been on our radar for 3 years

McKinley is a solid performer, a player who we had mentioned multiple times in the past as someone the Rams should sign. When the Atlanta Falcons first waived McKinley in November 2020, we lobbied for the LA Rams to add him to the roster. One week later, we were back at it again, this time imploring the Rams to add Takk McKinley to block the pass rush needy Seattle Seahawks from doing so.

Plenty of teams showed considerable interest in Takk McKinley throughout the summer months, but he had suffered an Achilles rupture in December 2021 and was not medically cleared to offer a full workout for teams. The Cowboys were particularly eager in signing Takk McKinley but erred on the side of caution due to his medical status.

He had subsequently signed on with the Tennessee Titans. While his Achilles injury could pose a problem, there were no signs of anything less than 100 percent from him in this footage from a Titans practice session.

The LA Rams now boast seven defensive linemen on the active roster. Seven defensive linemen is a historic high, and leads to conclude that one of two different events is likely to happen in the near future.

Of course, a look ahead to the 2023 projected free agents for the LA Rams reveals that the Rams will face a number of expiring contracts on the defensive front at the end of the 2022 NFL season. The Rams are currently projecting A’Shawn Robinson, Greg Gaines, Michael Hoecht, Marquise Copeland, and now Takk McKinley’s contract to expire at the end of the season.