Giants make Xavier McKinney 1st safety off board in 2nd round

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The New York Giants selected safety Xavier McKinney out of Alabama in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, No. 36 overall.

Many thought McKinney would be drafted in the opening round, but he still managed to be the first safety off the board and represents strong value with the pick.

The versatile defensive back was named a first-team All-SEC selection after a productive campaign with the Crimson Tide.

New York was in the market for a safety to play opposite Jabrill Peppers after selecting Andrew Thomas No. 4 overall on Thursday.

Prospect Profile

School: Alabama
Height: 6-0
Weight: 201 lbs

Positives

  • Versatility to line up all over the field
  • Outstanding processing ability
  • Solid instincts and understands route combinations in zone
  • Fluid in man against tight ends and slot receivers
  • Patient approach, and can mirror at the top of a route
  • Quick to get downhill and get involved in run game
  • Good angles to the ball in pursuit
  • Comes to balance and makes physical tackles
  • Good blitzer from a variety of alignments

Negatives

  • Lacks ideal size for physical player
  • Below-average speed for the position
  • Average range for single-high role
  • Size could be an issue against big-bodied tight ends

Bottom line

McKinney is the ultimate chess piece for a defensive backfield. With his incredibly well-rounded skill set, there just really isn't anything he can't do. The Alabama standout shows his intelligence while reading and diagnosing as a pass defender, and he's athletic enough to play in coverage in the box, up high, or over the slot. He's similarly smart in the running game, with the physicality and sound tackling ability to be a reliable finisher. McKinney is a Day 1 difference-maker at the next level.

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Giants make Xavier McKinney 1st safety off board in 2nd round
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