UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley plans to complete the entire 2017 NFL Scouting Combine schedule before undergoing shoulder surgery that will require at least five months of recovery time.
Bleacher Report's Jason Cole reported Thursday that McKinley confirmed he needs a procedure to repair a torn labrum and broken glenoid. He still plans to take part in the combine. The weeklong event is slated to get underway Tuesday, Feb. 28, and on-field work starts Friday, March 3.
It's unusual for a draft prospect to delay surgery to compete in the combine, but the Bruins standout has a solid reason: He's likely to tear it up in Indianapolis next week.
Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com reported sources expect "sensational testing" from the dynamic edge-rusher, including a 40-yard dash that could go as low as 4.45 seconds.
"The athletic defender ran the 100 meters in under 10.70 seconds in high school," Pauline wrote. "His vertical jump is expected to be at least 37 inches and—despite the shoulder issue—I'm told McKinley should finish the bench press with reps in the mid-20s."
In addition, McKinley's competitive fire is one of the intangible traits that helps distinguish him at one of the sport's most important positions. The combine is the marquee chance to go head-to-head with the other defensive ends and outside linebackers in the class.
Former Cal head coach Sonny Dykes told reporters in November he's always been impressed by the rising star's drive and determination following a tough upbringing that included being abandoned by his parents.
"Kids that don't have anything and make something for themselves the way he has, I think it's an inspiration to everybody," Dykes said. "Heck, I'm 47 years old and it's an inspiration for me. I'm just really proud of him and really excited to see what he does in his future."
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller rated McKinley as the No. 24 overall player and the fourth-best edge-rusher in the 2017 class in his post-Super Bowl rankings. He also listed the UCLA product as the best 3-4 outside linebacker among the incoming group.
Those ratings would make him a fringe first-round selection in April's draft. A dominant performance at the combine could solidify his placement inside the first 32 selections, however, and potentially push him into the middle of Round 1.
A five-month timetable following surgery in early March would put McKinley on pace to recover in early August. He would likely miss all of his new team's organized team activities, but he could be ready to roll during the early stages of training camp, which usually kicks off in late July.