The Cincinnati Bengals could use some pass-rush help and recently released Takk McKinley, a former first-round pick, is an option worth exploring.
For the past decade, the strength of the Bengals was found in the defensive trenches. Led by cornerstones Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, getting to the quarterback was a common occurrence in Cincinnati. After a meltdown with the former led to him being trading to Seattle, and an injury to the latter has caused him to slow down significantly, the defense finds itself in desperate need of guys capable of rushing the passer. That help could come in the form of the recently released Takk McKinley.
The Atlanta Falcons cut ties with the former 26th overall pick after frustrations between he and the franchise boiled over. Prior to the relationship between the two parties taking a turn for the worst, McKinley racked up 17.5 sacks over the course of three and a half years.
For a Lou Anarumo-led defense that only has 11 sacks on the year (putting them at 25th place in the league), any help in the pass-rush department should be welcomed. As the Bengals attempt to rattle off some wins in a relatively easy second-half of the season, a revitalized McKinley in an expanded role could help them do so.
How Takk McKinley fits in the big picture for the Bengals
Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, Cincinnati will be in the market for a pass rusher. It’s shaping up to be a deep draft class at the position, a fact that bodes well for them shoring up one of their weakest aspects.
However, the acquisition of McKinley could indicate to the front office just how much of their resources they will need to pour into the EDGE position.
The Bengals already have some talented players out on the edge in Sam Hubbard and Carl Lawson. Unfortunately, it’s evident they still need some help to consistently get to the quarterback. Is McKinley enough to free up the pair of defensive ends already rostered?
Worst case scenario, McKinley comes to the Queen City and continues the downward trend he saw in Atlanta. Best case? A change of scenery helps the talented pass rusher tap into his potential and he earns a long-term contract with the Bengals. The second scenario gives Zac Taylor one less thing to worry about next offseason and gives the club an opportunity to draft another pass rusher to add to a young core teeming with potential.