RD 2 (36): S Xavier Mckinney
A lot of first-round talent fell to the second and even third rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. When the NY Giants were on the clock with the 36th overall pick in the draft, the best player available on almost every big board was Alabama safety Xavier McKinney, whom most experts had ranked anywhere between the 10th and 20th best player in the draft.
Perhaps that is why when it was New York’s turn to pick, their pick was in almost as soon as they went on the clock. Picking up a top-15 player and the highest-rated safety in the draft is no small feat.
McKinney was the best all-around safety in the draft. He was excellent in blitzing situations, against the run and in coverage. Additionally, he showed the ability to make big plays when the Crimson Tide needed him to, as he recorded six sacks, five interceptions, six forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one blocked kick, and two defensive touchdowns in his collegiate career.
The selection of McKinney benefits the NY Giants’ secondary in two ways. The first is that they add a Pro Bowl-caliber safety prospect to start opposite of Jabrill Peppers. The second is that it allows Julian Love to shift into a more natural position of a slot cornerback/nickel safety role.
Love was drafted as a cornerback out of Notre Dame and was converted to safety last season by New York. He has the makings of a player who could be elite in the slot corner/nickel safety role. By adding McKinney, the Giants basically made massive upgrades to two positions on the defensive side of the ball.
A number of fans were disappointed that the Giants did not go with a pass rusher with the 36th pick. However, it is possible that Gettleman, Judge, and company feel that they have sufficient pass-rushing options in Fackrell, Oshane Ximines, and Lorenzo Carter, if they can receive solid coverage from their defensive backfield and strong play in the trenches from their massive defensive line of Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill.
The player comparison that I saw most for Xavier McKinney was that of former NFC East adversary Malcolm Jenkins. If McKinney can develop into a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl champion like Jenkins, I believe Giants fans will be extremely happy.