Cowboys Sign Intriguing Former First-Round Pick Amid Flurry of Moves

Takk McKinley

Getty The Cowboys are re-signing pass rusher Takkarist McKinley.

The Dallas Cowboys are adding former first-round pick Takk McKinley to the team’s practice squad, per’s Patrik Walker. The news comes after the Cowboys also added wide receiver Antonio Callaway as well as center Brock Hoffman to the practice squad as well.

“The Cowboys have signed DE Takk McKinley to the practice squad,” ESPN’s Todd Archer tweeted on November 16, 2022. “He worked out for the team in the summer and spent time with the Rams.”

The move reunites Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn with a player the coach is familiar with from his time with the Falcons. Most recently, McKinley played four games for the Rams this season after Los Angeles signed the pass rusher off of Tennessee’s practice squad. McKinley became a free agent after the Rams released the pass rusher on October 18.

After spending his first four seasons with the Falcons, McKinley ended up having short stints with the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders in less than a month’s timespan following his November 10, 2020 release by Atlanta as concerns grew about his health. The pass rusher went on to play 11 games last season for the Browns notching 18 tackles, eight quarterback hits, three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Tennessee signed McKinley as a free agent in September before he was poached by Los Angeles less than a week later.

McKinley was the No. 26 Overall Pick in the 2017 NFL Draft

If you lost track at home, the Cowboys mark McKinley’s eighth team since being the No. 26 overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft. The pass rusher has been unable to live up to the billing of being a first-round selection, but the Cowboys are hoping he can become a contributor on a defense that has struggled to stop the run. Walker explained why there could be reason for tempered optimism as McKinley reunites with Quinn.

“Sure was. The original #TakkHive Leader,” Walker tweeted on November 16. “He went on to give the Falcons 16.5 sacks in his first 21 starts. Now back with Quinn, healthy and free of Atlanta, I hope the 27-year-old (yup, only still just 27) can get back to that form for the Cowboys.”

Quinn on McKinley: ‘He’s Got Really Long Arms, He’s Super Fast’

Despite no longer coaching the defensive end, Quinn spoke glowingly about McKinley after the Browns signed the defender during the 2021 offseason. During a March 2021 interview with’s Mary Kay Cabot, Quinn explained what he saw in McKinley coming out of UCLA.

“I loved the speed and the length,’’ Quinn remarked at the time. “He’s got really long arms, he’s super fast. I loved that he was just relentless in the way that he went about it. I thought, ‘OK, here’s somebody that you think can develop and go do it.’’’

Quinn is likely thrilled to get another chance at coaching McKinley, especially given the Cowboys risked little by signing the pass rusher to a practice squad deal. McKinley’s best season came his sophomore year in Atlanta when the defender notched 22 tackles, 15 quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss and seven sacks during his 15 appearances which included eight starts.