3 ambitious expectations for NY Giants’ Xavier McKinney in 2022
By Reese Nasser
As New York Giants safety Xavier McKinney enters year three, expectations will be sky-high. After playing in just six games as a rookie, McKinney played in all 17 last year. Each week, he played at a high level, continuing to improve with every snap.
This Giants defense will look vastly different this upcoming year. From veterans such as James Bradberry departing to elite rookies like Kayvon Thibodeaux joining the group, the expectations will be all over the place for this unit. The hiring of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale will only highlight many of these new changes.
When examining McKinney’s Year 2, you quickly realize how well he performed. If the Giants hadn’t struggled as they did, his performance may have been even more recognized. He finished the season with 93 total tackles, 10 passes defended, and five interceptions. He finished the season tied for fourth in interceptions. He also recorded a PFF defensive grade of 75.4 and a coverage grade of 78.4.
As McKinney will look to build on his success in 2022, he could become one of the game’s top safeties if all goes to plan. But what are the expectations for him in 2022? Just how good can he become?
Here are 3 ambitious expectations for Xavier McKinney in 2022
3. Lead the League in Interceptions
As already noted, McKinney finished tied for the fourth-most interceptions in the NFL last season with five. The league leader, Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, finished with 11. Diggs’ season was one for the ages, as he was just three interceptions away from tying the NFL record for most in a season. The likelihood of him repeating this performance, while possible, is very low.
The player with the second-most in the NFL last season was veteran cornerback J.C. Jackson. He finished the year with eight, a number that is much more obtainable than the 11 hauled in by Diggs.
With the departure of both Logan Ryan and Bradberry, and an overall potentially weaker secondary this season, the Giants may be tested often in the passing game. Teams may be willing to push the ball down the field in a way that they didn’t last year. This alone could lead to far more opportunities for McKinney.
McKinney finished the season with the second-most pass breakups on the Giants last season with 10. If he is able to convert even half of those into interceptions, he could also find himself atop the leaderboard. Just like last season, the opportunities will be there for McKinney to make plays. He’ll have the most chances of his career up to this point.