Xavier McKinney was originally a top 15 projected draft pick in this years 2020 draft. Fortunately for the Giants, the hard hitting Alabama safety dropped all the way into the second round which allowed the Giants to draft him with the 36th overall pick. Even the Giants themselves weren’t expecting to have the chance to draft McKinney, but when the opportunity presented itself they knew they couldn’t miss out.
McKinney will be joining a secondary that already has a versatile strong safety in Jabril Peppers as the Giants look to rebuild their defense. Giant’s new head coach Joe Judge shared in an interview how McKinney is everything you could want in a Free Safety, “[he can] play in the deep part of the field, play in the box, be used in coverage on slot receivers, be used in blitz packages”.
After watching Xavier McKinney’s film two things stood out to me the most. Number 1, his ability to get to the quarterback while blitzing is phenomenal and in the right packages he will be a great weapon to have. He is absolutely relentless in getting to the ball and in his last two years at Alabama he recorded six sacks. McKinney is an all around playmaker on the defensive side of the ball and will be fun to watch in New York for years to come.
The second thing that stood out to me the most was his football IQ. McKinney has a nose for the ball and on multiple occasions in his film (particularly on interceptions) you can tell his anticipation for what’s about to happen is incredible. Perhaps the best example of his high football IQ is his interception versus Ole Miss, in the highlight reel at the bottom of this article. The Giants really hit the lotto with this pick in the 2020 Draft and fans should be very excited about the future of the Giants defense.