After a fractured foot landed Xavier McKinney on the injured reserve to begin his career, he’s ready to make an impact on a NY Giants’ defense that can’t wait to have him.
Xavier McKinney was expected by virtually everyone to be a day one selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. After falling to the NY Giants’ at 36th overall, it’s up to him to prove what Giants coaches believe – they got an absolute steal in Round 2.
McKinney was one of the best players on Alabama’s squad over his college career, helping the Crimson Tide to the National Championship in 2017, and earning first team All-SEC honors last season. He was also named the defensive MVP of the 2018 Orange Bowl, a game in which Nick Saban’s team defeated Kyler Murray’s Oklahoma Sooners, 45-34.
The Alabama product has been compared to the likes of Malcolm Jenkins and Justin Simmons, a compliment indeed. Harnessing the ability to play in the box – as well as being athletic enough to cover well – McKinney adds an element to the Giants’ defense they haven’t had in a long time.
Over the last decade, the Giants just haven’t been able to get their second safety position right. A revolving door that’s featured the likes of Antoine Bethea, Curtis Riley and others, it’s been a position of need for a couple seasons now.
McKinney and Jabrill Peppers have the potential to be one of the best safety tandems in the entire league. Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has to be salivating thinking of all the ways he could use McKinney and Peppers to confuse opposing quarterbacks.
Long a position of weakness, the secondary for the NY Giants could finally be turning a corner. With McKinney joining Peppers and new signing, shut-down corner James Bradberry and former Super Bowl Champion, Logan Ryan, it’s certainly an impressive, motivated group.
It’s a group that could coin the term ‘NYPD: New York Pass Defense’ and have it actually not be a joke.
More from GMEN HQ
- Workout clip of Evan Neal training with former All-Pro OT has Giants fans excited
- NFL Draft Schedule of Events: How to Navigate Draft Weekend
- 4 NY Giants who must step their game up in 2023
- This SEC CB at No. 25 overall for the Giants is gaining steam
- When is the NFL Draft?
Coming from a program long associated with winning, McKinney will be trying to help Big Blue enter a new era of success. His head coach, Joe Judge, knows a thing or two about where McKinney comes from as well – being a former assistant to Saban at Alabama.
The 2020 second round pick’s college experience will certainly help, as the Giants’ will face some of the best quarterbacks in the league over the next couple weeks. Yes – Cincinnati’s Ryan Finley awaits them this week – but dates with Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and last year’s MVP, Lamar Jackson, loom large.
If the Giants’ are to steal a game in the midst of this unconventional race for the NFC East, McKinney is going to have to make his impact felt. The former All-SEC safety can prove every team that passed on him wrong if he can do that, and the Giants’ certainly believe in him.
The NY Giants’ were lucky to have McKinney to fall to them in the second round – they couldn’t turn his draft card in quick enough – now it’s time for him to show why they were so excited to draft him.
So far, at all levels of football, the Xavier McKinney story has been one of success, accolades and winning. The next chapter begins now – the Giants’ hope there’s more of that to follow.