A past city of Los Angeles star is back, this time with the Los Angeles Rams.
And, this defender is a former first round talent who now returns to the city that saw him establish himself as a tackling and sack machine before getting drafted 26th overall.
Ex-Bruin is Back in L.A.
Per ESPN NFL insider Field Yates on Wednesday, September 21, the Rams have claimed Takkarist McKinley off waivers from the Tennessee Titans.
The Rams officially announced the addition of the Ex-UCLA star at 7:42 p.m. Eastern.
With “Takk” being poached from another team’s practice squad, he’s required by league rule to be on the active roster for at least three weeks or get paid three game checks. McKinley, per Yates, won’t head to the practice squad and instead be on the 53-man chart.
McKinley will look to recapture his dominating ways from the last time he was in the City of Angels. In 2016, the 6-foot-2, 265-pounder from Richmond, California ranked 10th nationally in average tackles for a loss per game at 1.6. He also finished with 18 tackles for a loss and 10 sacks in that final collegiate campaign. His relentless motor and “worker bee” traits ascended him to late first round material.
McKinley’s NFL career, however, hasn’t seen the kind of flash that he delivered in Westwood. Injuries have limited him including a ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered toward the end of the 2021 season. He’s never started in every NFL game for a full season.
McKinley, though, has managed 20 career sacks and 25 tackles for a loss including seven in his first three seasons according to Pro Football Reference. He’s now heading into a defense featuring All-Pro Aaron Donald and the trio of towering, athletic rushers in Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis and Leonard Floyd.
The former Bruin wasn’t the only veteran signing.
Who Else is on Board
The Rams offensive line saw a much more improved performance against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 2 with limiting the number of sacks. Yet, the Rams found themselves still needing to add depth.
The Rams addressed just that on the afternoon of Wednesday by not only adding a former starter who was once on a $2 million deal, but someone who once blocked for a league Most Valuable Player winner.
Announced by the team before 3:50 p.m. Eastern, the Rams signed center Matt Skura to the practice squad.
His addition comes in the wake of the Rams needing some extra center help following the injury to starter Brian Allen. The veteran Allen is projected to be out for another three weeks due to a knee injury. His ailment convinced the Rams to slide Coleman Shelton over to Allen’s spot and promote Tremayne Anchrum to starting right guard.
Anchrum, however, had to leave the 31-27 home win over the Falcons on Sunday, September 18 with a broken leg. His Rams teammate and captain Rob Havenstein told reporters at the “L.A. Rams Night for Wishes” event on the following Monday that Anchrum’s injury happened on the first play and was a “tough thing to see.” Havenstein, though, said “we’re going to get after it and go back to work for him” during the event held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California as part of the Rams’ partnership with Make-A-Wish Tri Counties (which serves Ventura, Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties).
Now, “Big Hav,” Shelton and the rest of the Rams offensive line will welcome in the veteran Skura. And the 29-year-old comes to the “Rams House” with plenty of starting action.
Skura has started in 65 total games across five seasons according to Pro Football Reference. And for his first four seasons, he helped block for Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. And that includes Jackson’s breakout 2019 campaign that saw him earn NFL MVP honors. Skura started in 11 games that season. He also drew praise from NFL analyst and former offensive lineman Brian Baldinger for his performance against the Rams in that ’19 season, which was a 45-6 rout at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.
Skura was rewarded with a one-year, $2,1330,000 deal following that season. However, he’s now on his third NFL franchise after making stops with the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, respectively.