Falcons second-year defensive end Takkarist McKinley is set to make his first NFL start against the Eagles at 8:20 p.m. Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field.
He was drafted in the first-round (26th overall) in 2017 and played over 400 snaps in a reserve role last season. McKinley will play right end and face Eagles left tackle Jason Peters, a nine-time Pro Bowler.
“He’s excited for the opportunity,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “At practice is where I’ve really seen his game take over. The physical style that he brings. The effort. The intensity.”
McKinley was slowed at the outset of training camp after offseason shoulder surgery.
“Over this past week, I’ve almost seen another jump take place,” Quinn said. “I thought he had a good camp and then he took a shift again this week…. I’m anxious to see him in an increased load because he’s really equipped and ready to get rocking on that.”
Right end Vic Beasley will primarily go against Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl last season.