By Spiro Kasabian @nyspawtsguy_spi
Dave Gettleman was all set to trade back for the first time in his career as a GM with the 36th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Gettleman and Joe Judge had one stipulation. If versatile Safety, Xavier McKinney fell to them No. 36, his value would be too good to pass up.
Then…..it happened. Due to a bad 40-time at the combine (ran a 4.63 while suffering through cramps), Xavier McKinney inexplicably dropped to the second round. Mr. McKinney, who was widely considered the best Safety in the draft, fell right into Gettleman’s lap. Gettleman and Judge wasted no time pulling the trigger. As the “PICK IS IN” sign flashed almost instantly when the Giants’ team name came up.
What you get:
What the Giants are getting in Xavier is a versatile safety that can literally line up anywhere on the defensive side of the ball. McKinney played 285 snaps in the box, 272 snaps at deep safety, and 227 snaps in the slot last season, according to Pro Football Focus. For those that wanted Isaiah Simmons, this man fits that same description.
McKinney racked up 95 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles and five pass breakups in 2019. His dominant junior year led to a Third Team All-American voting and First Team All-SEC honors. Nick Saban was talking the young man up to anyone that would listen this week, and the Giants were shocked to see Mel Kiper’s 15th-ranked prospect fall all the way to No. 36. With the current coaching staff’s ties to Alabama, this pick made too much sense from a need, value, and familiarity standpoint.
On the Field:
McKinney will be interchangeable with Jabrill Peppers and will not have to come off the field. With his high football IQ and ability to do everything on the football field, McKinney is the exact type of player you want in today’s NFL. The man may be an even better blitzer (6 career sacks) than a deep safety (5 career INTs). For the first time in a long time, the Giants will not have an anchor at one of the Safety spots.
The Giants are getting a thumper, a backend Quarterback, and a leader in their secondary. There are not many holes in McKinney’s game. The Giants certainly got a good one here. When Giant fans unanimously agree on a pick, you know Gettleman did something right.