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Eagles draft targets at No. 14: UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley

Eagles draft targets at No. 14: UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley

Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 250 pounds

2016: 61 TKL, 18.0 TFL, 10.0 SK, 3 FF
2015: 35 TKL, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 SK, 2 FF
2014: 3 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 SK, 1 FF

40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
Bench press: 24 reps
Vertical jump: 33.0 inches
Broad jump: 122.0 inches
3-cone drill: 7.48 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.62 seconds

When you look at the list of defensive ends who have made the Pro Bowl under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the group generally has one thing in common: speed. So with that in mind, if any pass rusher in the 2017 NFL Draft makes sense for the Eagles at No. 14, it might Takkarist McKinley.

McKinley's name is rising up rankings sheets as the draft approaches, which is probably less a sign of his stock going up than it is analysts catching up to scout' evaluations. Truth be told, it's surprising it took as long as it did given the way the UCLA product ran at the combine.

Only one prospect who projects as a potential 4-3 end timed faster in the 40 than McKinley, and nothing against Kansas State's Jordan Willis, he isn't going in the first round, much less the top 15. With a sub-4.6 and a productive senior year to hang his hat on, McKinley certainly may sneak up that high.

A first-team All-Pac-12 selection, McKinley was one of the most disruptive players in the nation in 2016. The two-year starter finished the season ranked 10th in tackles for loss per game, 11th in sacks per game and 22nd in forced fumbles per game. When he was on the field, McKinley was getting to the quarterback and making plays in the backfield.

This is exactly what Schwartz’s scheme -- and defense in the NFL, for that matter -- is predicated upon. Except, in the wide-nine front the Eagles operate out of, speed off the edge can be a critical factor in getting to the quarterback.

Somebody like Tennessee's Derek Barnett impressively broke Reggie White's school record for sacks and may be considered a more polished player right out of school. He's also more than a quarter-second slower than McKinley in terms of running in a straight line, which can make a world of difference when lined up far wide of the tackle box.

What sets Barnett apart from somebody like McKinley now is technique. The Bruins pass rusher simply doesn't have many moves apart from racing past his man, which when that doesn't happen, he tends to get stymied at the line of scrimmage. McKinley will need to add muscle and learn how to use his hands and find new ways to beat the protection.

Of course, he's only 21, and while he can hone his craft in the NFL, somebody like Barnett isn't suddenly going to become a lot faster. If speed is the name of the game off the edge, and the Eagles are willing to work with a raw prospect for a year, McKinley may have more upside in Schwartz's scheme.

That's a lot to project at No. 14 overall, which is why many mocks and rankings still push McKinley out of the top 20. That being said, of all the defensive linemen we've looked at for the Eagles, this might be the best fit. If the team winds up trading down from their current spot, McKinley quickly becomes an intriguing option a little later.

 

Other Eagles draft targets at No. 14:
Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
Michigan DE Taco Charlton
Ohio State CB Gareon Conley
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
Alabama LB Reuben Foster
LSU RB Leonard Fournette
Alabama TE O.J. Howard
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
Washington CB Kevin King
Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
Michigan State DT Malik McDowell
UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley
Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
Washington WR John Ross
LSU CB Tre'Davious White
Clemson WR Mike Williams

Instant Analysis: Grading the Eagles' preseason win over Bills

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Instant Analysis: Grading the Eagles' preseason win over Bills

The Eagles edged the Bills, 20-16, Thursday night after a see-saw fourth quarter, but everybody knows the final score in a preseason game is irrelevant (see Instant Replay).

August football is all about evaluations, and we have plenty of instant analysis from the second exhibition game.

Quarterbacks
Carson Wentz did not look sharp in his first few series. Two of his first three pass attempts were uncatchable, sailing way over the receiver's head and out of bounds. Wentz was eventually able to get into a rhythm, completing five of his final six passes for 45 yards. Matt McGloin picked up where he left off last week, mixing the occasional nice throw with a bunch that was nowhere near the intended target. An easy interception into double coverage was the cherry on top.

Grade: C

Running backs
Eagles ball carriers once again found little room to run, which would partially explain how LeGarrette Blount managed to carry five times for eight yards. Blount's fumble on one of his two receptions was unforgivable, though. Undrafted rookie Corey Clement outplayed his 30-year-old teammate, carrying it eight times for 34 yards — a solid 4.3 average — and one touchdown. Clement came up with an impressive blitz pickup as well. His performance salvaged the whole operation.

Grade: C

Wide receivers
Alshon Jeffery didn't get a ton of work, catching two passes for 24 yards, but was able to showcase his explosiveness on a 14-yard slant. There's a reason for all the hype. Nelson Agholor added two catches for 43 yards, and Marcus Johnson had the long reception of the game for 38 yards. Late in the game, rookie Shelton Gibson drew a 35-yard pass interference penalty. The unit seemed to make the most of its targets despite a lackluster performance from the rest of the offense.

Grade: B+

Tight ends
Brent Celek, Trey Burton and Billy Brown combined to make seven receptions for 59 yards. Perhaps more impressive still, the trio combined to clear the away the left side of the field on the Eagles' longest run of the game, a 24-yard scamper. Brown had 4 for 34 all by himself. Nothing spectacular, but much improved from the previous week.

Grade: B

Offensive line
Lane Johnson did not instill confidence in place of Jason Peters at left tackle, struggling mightily. Johnson surrendered one sack and was forced to commit a holding penalty to prevent another. The O-line as a whole was less than stellar, opening few holes on the ground and providing shaky protection. The second unit and third units were a bit better, paving the way for a still subpar 3.2 yards per carry, but limiting the Bills defense to one sack.

Grade: C-

Defensive line
The front four didn't post eye-popping numbers but harassed Bills signal callers throughout the contest. Fletcher Cox drove an offensive lineman right into the quarterback's lap on one play, forcing an incompletion, and Brandon Graham had a tackle for loss. On Derek Barnett watch, the rookie was quiet against Buffalo's first-team offense but finished with two quarterback hits and one sack. Second-year defensive end Alex McCalister has a strip sack as well. Steven Means was a man among boys down the stretch, getting tot he passer twice.

Grade: B+

Linebackers
Remember Mychal Kendricks? The sixth-year veteran was everywhere in this one. Kendricks sacked the quarterback, had a second tackle for a loss, and also came up with an interception. He looks motivated. Jordan Hicks also got to the quarterback once. Then the reserves cleaned up during extended garbage time. Joe Walker had five solo tackles, while Don Cherry had three and a forced fumble.

Grade: A

Defensive backs
The Ronald Darby trade is already paying dividends (see 10 observations). Darby recorded one interception and should've had another. The 48-yard return on the pick was fun, too. Rodney McLeod's pass deflection at the line of scrimmage led to another INT as well. Corey Graham was the third safety when Malcolm Jenkins moved into the slot and made five tackles, including one in the backfield. Jalen Mills was solid in coverage as well and finished with two tackles, while Rasul Douglas had a nice pass breakup. An encouraging showing all around, as Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor was held to eight completions for 43 yards on 18 attempts (44.4 percent). Terrence Brooks finished with a team-high eight tackles.

Grade: A+

Special teams
Caleb Sturgis missed a field goal from 45 yards, but connected from distances of 24 and 48 and was perfect on extra points. Donnie Jones pinned two of three punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Rasul Douglas and Kamu Grugier-Hill each made a nice tackle. Penalties were an issue for the unit as a whole, and Donnel Pumphrey still hasn't shown much explosiveness in the return game, taking three punts a grand total of 11 yards.

Grade: C

Coaching
The decision to send Wentz back on the field for a fourth series after the offense failed to get a first down in its first three opportunities. Wentz's final drive didn't produce points, but the unit was able to move the ball and build some confidence before a turnover ended the night. As always, the Eagles aren't scheming or game-planning for specific opponents, so the usage of starters is the only aspect of coaching that's worth evaluating.

Grade: NA

Breaking down potential tips for LeSean McCoy's 200 cheesesteaks for his Bills teammates

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Breaking down potential tips for LeSean McCoy's 200 cheesesteaks for his Bills teammates

Welcome home, Shady.
 
Former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy returned to Philadelphia with the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night and it’s clear what he misses most about the city.

The food.
 
Before the game, reports surfaced McCoy ordered 200 cheesesteaks and crab fries from Chickie and Pete’s for his teammates to enjoy after the game.

So that got us thinking.
 
Back in 2014, Shady left a 20-cent tip on a $61.56 tab at PYT, a burger and milkshake spot in Northern Liberties, citing poor service for the size of the tip.

If McCoy pays the full price of $14.90 for his 200 orders Thursday, the bill will come out to $2,980. If he tips the same percentage he did back in 2014, he will leave an extra $9.66.

If he tips a more respectable 20 percent, it would come out to about $600.

Here is to hoping the good folks at Chickie and Pete’s deliver some good service so they get a bigger tip than the folks at PYT.