Former Browns Pass Rusher Inks Deal With AFC Contender

Takkarist McKinley

Getty Images Takkarist McKinley of the Cleveland Browns.

Former Cleveland Browns pass-rusher Takkarist McKinley has a new home, with the Tennessee Titans signing him to their practice squad on Friday.

The Browns inked McKinley to a one-year deal last offseason, taking a gamble on the former first-round pick after a turbulent period of his career. While with Atlanta he collected 13 of his 17.5 career sacks and showed the potential that made him a first-round pick.

However, he was cut by Atlanta after a social media tirade and he wasn’t able to get on the field after that. He signed with the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders, but was never healthy enough to suit up.

McKinley stepped up last year and was a solid rotational piece for the Browns behind Jadeveon Clowney and Myles Garrett. However, his season was cut short when he ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Week 15 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. Prior to the injury, he had recorded 18 total tackles, three tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

McKinley Drew Interest From Multiple Clubs

It was reported that the Browns had an interest in potentially bringing McKinley back but he’ll look to get back on track in Tennesee following the injury. Jeremy Fowler of ESPN first reported the move.

“Titans signing pas rusher Takk McKinley, a former first-round pick, to the practice squad,” Fowler tweeted. “McKinley had interest from the Cowboys, Cardinals and others.”

Considering how late in the season the injury happened, McKinley likely has some work to do before he can get back on the field. However, it sounded like he was on track to play sooner than later when he visited with the Cowboys earlier this offseason.

The Titans lost star pass-rusher Harold Landry to a torn ACL earlier, so when McKinley gets up to speed he could end up playing a key role for the Titans.

Browns Defense Solid in Week 1 vs. Panthers

Outside of a few coverage breakdowns in the second half, the Browns defense was solid in Week 1, holding the Panthers to 261 total yards. Cleveland was especially stout against the ground game, holding Carolina to 54 yards.

Myles Garrett set the tone for the defense up front, registering a pair of sacks and causing consistent chaos in the Panthers’ backfield. The Browns got a little creative with their depth, which includes defensive tackle Taven Bryan — who can move outside on occasion — and backup pass-rushers Chase Winovich and Alex Wright.

“Taven gives us the ability to do that, an athletic three-technique who really looks good when he is on the edge and push the pocket,” Browns defensive line coach Chris Kiffin said. “Obviously, we can personnel it and bring in Alex and (DE Chase) Winovich and move Myles inside. That is something we have always done in the past with our ‘Cheetah’ group.”

The Browns will face the Jets struggling offense on Sunday, led by veteran QB Joe Flacco. Garrett can set the franchise record for sacks with just two more. That mark is currently held by Clay Matthews Jr. (62). Garrett was the top pick in the 2017 draft and is just 26 years old.

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