<
>

Takkarist McKinley's injury not good news for linebacker-needy Colts

Because he needs shoulder surgery, linebacker Takkarist McKinley will not have a full offseason for the team that drafts him. Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS -- Linebacker is arguably the most glaring need for the Colts this offseason. The unit was old and slow, for the most part, last season.

The news of UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley needing surgery on his right shoulder with a recovery period of four to six months isn’t news that the Colts want to hear.

McKinley is rated as one of the top outside linebackers in the draft and has been linked to the Colts in some mock drafts. Being out four to six months means McKinley will miss offseason workouts with any team that selects him. Needing the full six months to recover has McKinley out for the entire training camp.

A team like the Colts, if they do have interest in him, must think hard if they should take McKinley with the No. 15 pick when you take into consideration that they want their first-round pick to play a decent role for the team next season. McKinley had 61 tackles, including 18 for a loss, and 10 sacks last season at UCLA.

Here’s how shaky the linebacker position is for the Colts: They could potentially have four new starting linebackers next season.

Robert Mathis is retired, Erik Walden and Trent Cole are free agents and D’Qwell Jackson was released. Antonio Morrison and Edwin Jackson closed the season as the two starting inside linebackers and there’s a decent chance that there could be open competition for those two positions.

That’s why the Colts must weigh the positives with the negatives when it comes to deciding if waiting for McKinley to recover from shoulder surgery is worth it. They’ll likely be keeping an eye on how quickly he’s recovering between now and the draft next month.