Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer 12d

Takkarist McKinley shows explosive burst to lead Falcons' draft class

Here's a look at the first-half impact of the Falcons' draft class:

Takkarist McKinley, DE, first round: McKinley's explosive burst is evident after every snap, but he's learned quickly that you can't just beat the opponent with a bull rush. McKinley had two sacks, a forced fumble, four tackles for loss and five quarterback hits in 212 defensive snaps played. Grade: Above average

Duke Riley, LB, third round: Riley struggled with missed tackles from the outset of the season, although he made some strides after a heart-to-heart with teammate and fellow LSU Tiger Deion Jones. Then Riley suffered a meniscus tear, which led to surgery that will keep him out indefinitely. Grade: Average

Sean Harlow, OG, fourth round: Harlow has been inactive for every game this season. The coaches obviously didn't feel he was ready to compete for playing time, even as a backup. Grade: Bring on 2018

Damontae Kazee, DB, fifth round: Kazee showed his ballhawking skills in practice during the preseason and has found a role as the backup to starting free safety Ricardo Allen. Kazee started one game when Allen was out with a concussion. The coaches like his ability to hit, with one forced fumbled. Kazee had 10 total tackles in 80 defensive snaps played. Grade: Above average

Brian Hill, RB, fifth round: Hill started the season slowed by an ankle injury. Once recovered, he struggled to pick up things on offense and eventually was waived, then re-signed to the practice squad. Hill still has a lot of growing to do with things such as catching the ball out of the backfield and playing tougher. Grade: Bring on 2018

Eric Saubert, TE, fifth round: Saubert is the third tight end behind Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo and has run just two routes on offense. His primary contribution comes on special teams, where Saubert has one special teams tackle. The coaches like his potential, though. Grade: Average

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