Duke Riley

Falcons LB Duke Riley To Undergo Surgery

Falcons linebacker Duke Riley will require surgery after suffering a torn meniscus, according to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. While Atlanta hasn’t announced a timetable for Riley’s return, meniscus injuries typically require a four-week absence, per McClure.Duke Riley (Vertical)

Riley, whom the Falcons selected in the third round of the 2017 draft, has appeared in every game for Atlanta during his rookie campaign. He’s only been a base package player, though, garnering time on roughly 45% of the Falcons’ defensive snaps while playing on a quarter of the club’s special teams plays. Pro Football Focus hasn’t been a fan of Riley’s output, grading the LSU product as a bottom-15 linebacker.

Still, replacing a player who is essentially a starter is never easy, but the Falcons already started on that task earlier today. Atlanta agreed to bring back linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, who spent 2010-15 with the Falcons. It’s unclear if Atlanta expects Weatherspoon to step directly into Riley’s role, or whether they’ll lean on other players — such as Jordan Tripp or (per McClure) converted safety Kemal Ishmael — to replace Riley. The Falcons are also set to bring linebacker LaRoy Reynolds off injured reserve in the next few weeks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons Sign Takkarist McKinley

The Falcons have now signed their entire 2017 draft class. First round defensive end Takkarist McKinley, third round linebacker Duke Riley, fifth round running back Brian Hill, and fifth round tight end Eric Saubert are all under contract, the team announced. Takkarist McKinley (featured)

The Falcons traded up to the Seahawks’ No. 26 pick during the first round in order to select McKinley, a former star at UCLA. McKinley went viral for his outpouring of emotions on the stage, but the Falcons believe that he’ll be known more for his play on the field before long. The 6’2″, 250 pound athlete has been widely praised for his high motor and his big wingspan should allow him to fend off blockers at the next level. In his senior year at UCLA, McKinley racked up 61 total tackles, 18 tackles for a loss, and ten sacks – all career highs.

Here’s the complete rundown of the Falcons’ draft class:

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.