Falcons rookie Takkarist McKinley shows promise as a pass-rusher

The Falcons expect rookie Takkarist McKinley (shoulder surgery in March) to be ready in Week 1. AP Photo/John Bazemore

A breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons 2017 draft class and its progress after two weeks of training camp:

Takkarist McKinley, DE, first round (No. 26 overall): Although McKinley's progress has been slowed some by surgery on his right shoulder in March, the Falcons expect him to be ready for the season opener. He's shown flashes of his ability to help the team's pass rush, specifically with his bull rushes during 1-on-1 drills. But McKinley still has a lot of work to from a technique standpoint. He's working with the backups and occasionally gets a chance to work against starting offensive tackle Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder during 11 on 11. His speed and power are undeniable.

Duke Riley, LB, third round (No. 75): There's no doubt about the kind of speed Riley brings to the position group, which is why he's gotten reps with the starters in the base package at weakside linebacker. Riley had a few hiccups in the first game, including stopping his feet when he shouldn't have on one play. But coach Dan Quinn said he looked comfortable, in general.

Sean Harlow, OG, fourth round (No. 136): Harlow is getting a long look at left guard behind Andy Levitre, with Wes Schweitzer and Ben Garland battling it out at right guard. With any young lineman, working on technique will be a big factor for Harlow. The Falcons don't appear to have much quality depth across the entire line right now, so Harlow has to be a solid interior backup.

Damontae Kazee, DB, fifth round (No. 149): Kazee, a cornerback in college, has made the transition to free safety look rather easy so far and was the talk of training camp from the outset after picking off a few practice passes. Besides making plays on the ball, Kazee also has made an impression with his physicality. The coaches have him focused on free safety as needed depth behind starter Ricardo Allen. But the original plan was to have Kazee play both safety and nickel back. Kazee also showed some toughness in camp while practicing through an ankle injury.

Brian Hill, RB, fifth round (No. 156): Hill had a slow start during the offseason and struggled to adjust. However, he started to show up more when the pads came on during training camp. Hill has to embrace special teams if he hopes to make the roster, and he impressed the coaches with his effort in the first exhibition. It's still an uphill battle -- no pun intended -- to supplant Terron Ward at the third running back behind Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.

Eric Saubert, TE fifth round (No. 174): Saubert has had moments in practice where he's looked very strong catching the football. Then he had a drop against Miami in the first exhibition, which didn't help his cause. Plus, he had two holding penalties in that same game, one which nullified a touchdown. He's a project and still learning.