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Giants #2 pick, Xavier McKinney
13 months ago  ::  Apr 24, 2020 - 7:48PM #1
Jon
Posts: 3,075







McKinney started all 13 games in a third-team Associated Press All-American and first-team All-SEC junior campaign, topping the Tide's defense with 95 tackles (5.5 for loss, three sacks) and finishing among the national leaders with four forced fumbles. He also intercepted three passes, broke up five others and blocked a kick. He burst onto the scene as a sophomore, grabbing the starting role in fall camp (73 tackles, six for loss, three sacks, two interceptions and 10 pass breakups in 15 starts). McKinney was named the Defensive MVP of the Orange Bowl with five tackles and four pass breakups against Oklahoma to send Alabama to the national title game. He returned an interception for a touchdown in both 2018 and '19. As a true freshman in 2017, McKinney played in 13 games as a reserve and on special teams (eight tackles, 1.5 for loss). The Roswell, Georgia, native was a top-50 overall prospect nationally after earning state Class 7A Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution his senior season (82 tackles, seven interceptions, nine pass breakups).












By Lance Zierlein

NFL Analyst



Draft Projection

Round 1



NFL Comparison

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson






Overview


Ascending safety prospect offering a combination of plus athleticism, field awareness and versatility. McKinney split time equally at slot, free safety and in the box and is accomplished in each. His coverage instincts, athleticism and quick-twitch burst are more cornerback than safety, which is why he's likely to be a coveted toy for teams looking to upgrade and diversify their sub-packages. He can sit in center field all day if needed, and he's an adequate open-field tackler but has room for improvement in that area. McKinney represents the new breed of versatile, matchup safety with high upside as an early starter.





Strengths
  • Known for high football IQ and field toughness
  • Versatility to match up with every personnel grouping
  • Plus burst with impressive change of direction in space
  • Smooth backpedal with agile feet and fluid hips to weave with quarterback
  • Adequate ball-tracking and poise when the ball goes up
  • Speed for foot race over the top in Cover 1
  • Intent on deciphering the quarterback's eyes
  • Anticipates and cuts under breaks looking for takeaways
  • Recognizes route combinations and adjusts coverage accordingly
  • Has instant burst to close and strikes with intent
  • Uses length to clamp and roll as tackle finisher
  • Takes smart angles into alley to clean up spillage
  • Above-average blitz talent from mugged-up A-gap or off the slot





Weaknesses
  • Had three interceptions, but could, and should, have had three more
  • Allows separation underneath when staring into the backfield
  • Lost coverage leverage twice against South Carolina in two-deep
  • Needs to recognize and navigate rub routes
  • Small windows stay open when attempting to bait throws
  • Got beat for touchdowns in 2019 when matched on big targets
  • Allows receivers room when he's right there to squeeze
  • Inconsistent gather and balance as open-field tackler
  • Can lose tackle positioning when he becomes impatient



13 months ago  ::  Apr 24, 2020 - 7:49PM #2
Jon
Posts: 3,075


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2020 NFL Draft: Xavier McKinney Scouting Report





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Xavier McKinney | Safety | Alabama


Height | 6-1


Weight | 200


College Bio


Career Stats


Strengths


Big shocker of the day, the Alabama Crimson Tide have yet another safety that could be a top draft prospect in this year’s class.


McKinney is another safety that is often spoken of in the same breath as Grant Delpit. Both safeties will be highly coveted in this year’s class. McKinney is more of the cover safety, in fact he spent some time in the nickel corner role last season due to injury. He excels in coverage with two interceptions during his sophomore year and 10 passes defended. This year back in his more natural role, McKinney added three more picks, five passes defended and four forced fumbles.


McKinney has good reactions when playing in coverage. He can close quickly when coming downhill. He will be a solid tackler at the next level because he rarely whiffs on tackle attempts. He is very much a swiss army knife in that he does a little bit of everything. He can play coverage, blitz off the edge with success or be an extra body in the box in run defense. Well rounded and seems to do everything well.


Weaknesses


While Xavier McKinney does a lot of things well he isn’t a player you want to leave one on one in coverage too often. He can get burned by his over aggressiveness in coverage. Doesn’t have elite athleticism to play center fielder as a single high safety but does enough to get the job done.


There aren’t many things that McKinney needs to improve upon. He does need to be more refined in his tackling technique as he can come in too high at times.


Bottom Line


Xavier McKinney is a top two safety in this class with his ability to play all over the defense. Some have referred to him as a poor man’s Minkah Fitzpatrick. Maybe it is the crimson jersey that he wears on Saturdays, but definitely see that in his game.


Projection: Top 40

13 months ago  ::  Apr 24, 2020 - 7:50PM #3
Jon
Posts: 3,075











6'0"201 lbs Alabama



1 POS RK

17 OVR RK

91 GRADE












Xavier McKinney's NFL draft profile


Xavier McKinney is a versatile defensive back who was a staple of Nick Saban's Alabama defense and is a top prospect in the 2020 NFL draft.




Pre-Draft Analysis


McKinney is the most talented safety in the 2020 class. His versatility, instincts and force as a tackler are what stand out most when you throw on his tape. He can play two-high, single-high, in-the-box and as the overhang (over the slot). McKinney diagnoses quickly, excels in off coverage and is a playmaker. He fills hard in the run game and is a big hitter for his size. -- Steve Muench


Post-Draft Analysis


With veteran Antoine Bethea moving on and converted corner Julian Love shifting to the safety spot, McKinney can compete to start on Day 1 in the Giants' secondary. With multidimensional traits, McKinney is a fit for the new Giants defensive scheme in the Patrick Chung role. -- Tim Bowen




13 months ago  ::  Apr 24, 2020 - 8:35PM #4
Jon
Posts: 3,075


www.si.com/nfl/giants/draft/x-marks-the-...



The Giants selected Alabama safety Xavier McKinney out of Alabama in the second round.


McKinney is a good player who possesses high mental processing and thrived in the “Money” spot for Nick Saban’s defense. The safety is incredibly versatile, having played 286 snaps in the box, 227 snaps at slot corner, and 271 at free safety, along with 38 snaps on the EDGE, according to PFF. 


Giants general manager Dave Gettleman loves a few different, yet important, aspects of specific prospects. For example, he loves experience, level of competition, and physicality. McKinney brings all that and then some. 


He played in 41 games, starting 28 in the SEC while playing through injuries and showing a high level of competitive toughness and intelligence. And he does well seeing the field and executes his run fits well.


McKinney was a second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC. He led the Crimson Tide in tackles with 95, while recording 20 career passes defended and five interceptions. 


McKinney is a strong tackler, who comes downhill, wraps up, and rolls through contact. His quick trigger coming downhill is one of his better traits as well. 


He is solid against the run and solid against the pass, and there's not a lot to hate about his game. 


I felt the Giants would go in the direction of a single high safety, like Cal’s Ashtyn Davis, or even LSU’s Grant Delpit, but I see why McKinney was the selection. He checks the boxes of the values that Gettleman prioritizes: Smart, Experienced, Tough. 


His versatility will allow defensive Patrick Graham to do a lot with three safety personnel packages. Julian Love and Jabrill Peppers, along with Xavier McKinney can be put in the box in 3-3-5, 2-4-5, and 1-4-6 (dime/3rd down) type defenses. 


McKinney is also a very adept blitzer for a safety, which intrigues me with Patrick Graham.


The combine didn’t help McKinney’s case, but the Giants may have benefitted. He never had the chance to re-run his 4.63 40 yard dash, because his pro-day was canceled, due to COVID-19. 


Despite that, McKinney was still the top safety drafted ahead of Jeremy Chinn and Kyle Dugger.


McKinney is an interchangeable safety that can be used creatively. I do wonder if this impacts the longevity of Peppers with the Giants, but there is undoubtedly a way all three safeties can co-exist on this defense. 


McKinney may lack the top-end range in this draft, but he’s the best overall safety for a reason. He is good at so many things and doesn’t have any glaring liabilities in his game. 


McKinney allows Graham to be so creative with different looks and coverages on the backend, and maybe Love will slide to the single-high look. He can execute a lot of roles, and the Giants added a smart, tough, and overall competent defender who has no glaring holes in his game. 


This is another safe selection by the Giants’ brass, and that doesn’t mean it’s a bad pick. It’s hard to find things to hate about McKinney’s game. No, he may not have the elite range, but he’s a good, instinctive football player.


McKinney is the second player the Giants selected who played for a coaching staff--in this case nick Saban--with ties to head coach Joe Judge.


13 months ago  ::  Apr 24, 2020 - 8:36PM #5
Jon
Posts: 3,075

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